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CampdenFB's top 50 family business leaders

The last five years haven’t been the easiest for companies across the globe. But despite the uphill battle family businesses face, many are thriving. That’s thanks in no small part to their leaders. For the second year in a row, the CampdenFB/Ernst & Young Top Family Business Leaders list honours 50 remarkable chairmen, presidents, chief executives and managing directors.
Who are the top 50 family business leaders in the world?

The last five years haven’t been the easiest for companies across the globe. But despite the uphill battle family businesses face, many are thriving. That’s thanks in no small part to their leaders.

For the second year in a row, the CampdenFB/Ernst & Young Top Family Business Leaders list honours 50 remarkable chairmen, presidents, chief executives and managing directors.

In total, 33 of this year’s top leaders are new entrants, including Filipino Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala. He was joined by 15 other leaders from emerging markets – in total, 32% hailed from developing markets, up from 18% in 2011. This includes two leaders from Africa, seven from Asia and four from Latin America.

This year’s top 50 features 50% more women. Female leaders make up almost a fifth of the list, which includes new entrant Luiza Helena Trajano Inácio Rodrigues, vice-chairwoman of appliance retailer Magazine Luiza.

A number of female leaders also made the list for a second year in a row, including Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette. In total, 17 leaders from 2011’s top 50 appear again, including India’s Adi Godrej, John Elkann from Fiat and sixth-generation Jonas Bonnier, who has been working hard to streamline the eponymous media company.

This ability to carefully lead businesses through challenging times or difficult changes is now more important than ever, says Peter Englisch, head of Ernst & Young’s Family Business Center of Excellence. “In current times of economic uncertainties and lack of trust in the economic environment, family businesses play a significant role. The long-term strategy and the sustainable, value-based focus are important to regain trust and confidence,” he adds.

Top 50 family business leaders (in alphabetical order):

Gareth Ackerman
Age: 54
Nationality: South African
Company: Pick n Pay
Position: Non-executive chairman
Revenues: €5.03 billion (fiscal 2011)

Pick n Pay is a company in transition, according to the man tasked with taking the business forward – second-generation Gareth Ackerman. The 54-year-old, who’s worked across many divisions in the company, took over the chairman role in 2010 from his father Raymond Ackerman. Stepping into the founder’s shoes hasn’t been easy, says Ackerman, but that hasn’t stopped him from making his mark. He has taken a long-term approach to the listed business, focusing on restructuring the company, including selling off its Australian division, and has invested heavily, although he admits this will hit its bottom line in the short-term. So far, his plans seem to be working – the expansion of the business into the broader southern Africa market has been “phenomenally successful”. And against a backdrop of rising costs, a fall in consumer spending and a sluggish world economy, the company managed a respectable 5.9% rise in sales in fiscal 2011 under Ackerman’s leadership.

Pick n Pay prides itself on being professionally run, but its family links are just as important - his father headed the company for 43 years. “Being family-controlled has ensured that the values introduced in 1967 have carried through over [the] years. Importantly, this will not change,” Ackerman says. He works closely with various members of his family, including his siblings Jonathan and Suzanne Ackerman- Berman, and they are all committed to making Pick n Pay as socially responsible as possible. Ackerman, who previously ran the Ackerman family office and the family’s holding company Pikwik, also gets the nod for his commitment to education – he lectures around the world and is an associate fellow of the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.

Abdulrahman Al Zamil
Age: 69
Nationality: Saudi Arabian
Company: Al Zamil Group
Position: Chairman Revenues: €538 million (2010)

Abdulrahman Al Zamil was educated in Kuwait and the US but returned to Saudi Arabia in 1972 to oversee the management of the Al Zamil Group. The business was founded by his father, the late Abdullah Al-Hamad Al Zamil, as a Bahrain-based food and textiles trading business. However, under the 69-year-old’s management it expanded across the Middle East and was transformed into an industrial conglomerate with interests in petrochemicals, air conditioning and real estate among others. Al Zamil also contributed to the group’s commitment to transparency and good corporate governance by drafting a document that separates the interests of the family from those of the business.

Simone Bagel-Trah
Age: 43
Nationality: German
Company: Henkel
Position: Chairwoman of the supervisory board
Revenues: €15.1 billion (2010)

Simone Bagel-Trah has been managing the consumer goods company famous for brands such as Schwarzkopf, Persil and Loctite since September 2009, when she became the first woman in Germany to chair a DAX30-listed company. The great-great granddaughter of the Dusseldorf-based company’s founder, Bagel-Trah is the fifth generation of the Henkel family to manage the business. Thanks to her science background – she has a PhD in microbiology and spent two years working as a consultant in the pharmaceutical industry – Bagel-Trah understands the essentials of the 136-year-old company’s products. In 2010, revenues increased 11.2% from the previous year.

Anthony Bamford
Age: 66
Nationality: British
Company: JCB
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €2.4 billion (2010)

Anthony Bamford has played a crucial role in growing JCB, making it Britain’s largest privately owned engineering company and the world’s third-biggest construction and agricultural equipment manufacturer. He took over the running of the family firm in 1975 after completing an apprenticeship, succeeding his father and JCB founder Joseph Cyril Bamford. Under his leadership, the company expanded in Brazil and India, increasing its share of the global construction machinery market to over 12%. The business also adopted the just-in-time manufacturing process, a cost-cutting approach that sees production starting only after an order has been placed. In 2010, despite the downturn in the global construction industry, JCB reported revenues of €2.4 billion, a 47% increase over the year before.

Guido Barilla
Age: 53
Nationality: Italian
Company: Barilla Group
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €4 billion (2010)

Fourth-generation Guido Barilla has played a crucial role in revitalising the Barilla Group. Nicknamed the “pasta king”, he took over the reins of the firm in 1993, succeeding his father as the company’s chairman at a time when profits were falling. Along with brothers Luca and Paolo, Barilla was responsible for growing the business internationally through a number of acquisitions that included French bakery Harry’s and German bread maker Lieken Urkorn. He was also behind Barilla’s expansion in the US, opening the group’s first plant there in 1998. Barilla now controls about 28% of the American pasta market.

Pierre Beaudoin
Age: 49
Nationality: Canadian
Company: Bombardier
Position: President and chief executive
Revenues: €13.8 billion (fiscal 2011)

Third-generation Pierre Beaudoin joined Montreal-based planes and trains manufacturer Bombardier in 1985 and was named president and chief executive in 2008. Before taking over the top position, Beaudoin worked across various divisions including customer service and product development, and headed a number of product lines such as marine, snowmobiles and utility vehicles. He succeeded his father Laurent as chief executive at a time of intense market volatility, but has remained positive about the company’s outlook – profits rose to $770 million (€586.2 million) in fiscal 2011, up from around $700 million in 2010, thanks to his long-term vision. He said in 2011 that Bombardier would take up contracts only if it “makes financial sense for the long term”.

Bruno Bich
Age: 65
Nationality: French
Company: Bic
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €1.83 billion (2010)

One of 11 children of Marcel Bich, the founder of the company, Bruno Bich took over from his father as chairman and chief executive of the pen and lighter manufacturer in 1993. Bich had much to live up to – his father, who founded the company in 1945, was considered an astute, yet reclusive, businessman and successfully battled for a prominent place in the razor industry by competing against leaders such as Gillette and Schick. In fact, under his leadership, the group reached $1 billion in overall sales for the first time. But Bich was well prepared for the top job – he held numerous other positions before taking the top post, including national sales manager and vice-president of sales and marketing. Although listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1972, Bic is still majority controlled by the founding family, which holds more than 40% of the group capital and 56% of the voting rights.

What comes to mind with Bic, besides its ubiquitous products, is its exemplary management. Bich built on his father’s legacy, and focused on “consistent quality at the right price”. He is credited with increasing production and boosting sales of gas lighters, reasoning that “there are 40 million barbecues in the US every year”. The company was recognised for its openness in 2010, when it ranked first among 120 French listed companies for its financial transparency. Bic reported buoyant sales between 2008 and 2010, with revenues rising by around 30% to €1.83 billion. Bich stepped down as chief executive in 2006 in favour of non-family Mario Guevara, who first joined the group in 1992. However, the family’s presence remains strong at the company – Bich’s son Gonzalve is general manager of north European operations, while nephew Geoffrey heads business in China.

Jonas Bonnier
Age: 48
Nationality: Swedish
Company: Bonnier
Position: Chief executive
Revenues: €3.47 billion (2010)

The Swedish publishing group’s head made last year’s top 50 list due to the family’s strong involvement in the company and astute succession planning over the years. But now the sixth-generation Bonnier, who took over the 100% family-owned firm in 2008, has more than proved his mettle. Despite a loss of around SEK400 million (€45.5 million) in 2009, the group managed to make a profit the next year to the tune of around SEK700 million by increasing investment into the print and digital publishing arm of the business. Bonnier is also streamlining company operations by doing away with divisions between its publishing, television and digital media operations. The resulting structure will see all the 20 companies within the eponymous group’s umbrella reporting directly to headquarters, without any business area heads.

Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette
Age: 55
Nationality: French
Company: Sonepar
Position: Chairwoman and chief executive
Revenues: €13.4 billion (2010)

Coisne-Roquette might be considered the grande dame of European family business leaders, having taken over from her father’s stewardship of the 150-year-old electrical engineering company over a decade ago. She’s since secured growth of at least 7% a year in revenues at Sonepar. A big proponent of the family business model, Coisne-Roquette has ensured sound corporate governance thinking prevails at not just Sonepar, but also the family holding company Colam Entreprendre. She says that a big part of her role now is to prepare the next generation to guide the business forward. And she’s confident enough in the family control of Sonepar to say that in 30 years it will still be in family hands.

Tim Cooper
Age: 55
Nationality: Australian
Company: Coopers Brewery
Position: Managing director and chief brewer
Revenues: €139 million (fiscal 2011)

The fifth generation of the Cooper family to work at the eponymous brewery, Tim Cooper has shown a strong commitment to protecting the family nature of the firm as well as expanding its business since he took control in the mid-1990s. Under his leadership, Coopers resisted an unsolicited takeover bid by rival Lion Nathan in 2005 and its revenues jumped 82% in 10 years, from AUS$95 million (€76 million) in fiscal 2001 to AUS$173 million in 2011. Following SABMiller’s takeover of rival Fosters in December, the company, which in 2011 was voted family business of the year by CampdenFB readers, also became the biggest Australian-owned brewery.

John Elkann
Age: 35
Nationality: Italian
Company: Fiat Group
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €56.3 billion (2010)

Chairman of Italy’s largest industrial group, John Elkann has been crucial in turning the once struggling family firm into one of the fastest growing car manufacturers in the world. The designated heir of legendary businessman Giovanni Agnelli, Elkann worked anonymously at Fiat factories before being appointed to the company’s board in 1997, when he was only 22. He is considered responsible for bringing in non-family chief executive Sergio Marchionne in 2004 and for giving the green light to Fiat’s takeover of Chrysler Group. At the beginning of January, Fiat increased its stake in the US carmaker to 58.5%, paving the way for a full merger of the two companies. This could make Fiat the world’s third-largest auto group after Toyota and Volkswagen.

Carl Elsener
Age: 53
Nationality: Swiss
Company: Victorinox
Position: Chief executive and chairman
Revenues: €414 million (2010)

Fourth-generation Elsener has taken all the virtues of the family business and built upon these since he took the helm in the 1990s. The maker of the iconic Swiss army knife has always been heavily rooted in the small town in northern Switzerland where it was founded and Elsener has continued this tradition by ensuring most of the manufacturing stays local – nearly all of the 900-plus staff in the Swiss factory work within 30 minutes’ commute. Elsener has shown resourcefulness when the company went through tough times, such as after 9/11 when the selling of pocket knives was banned at airports. Sales fell 30% a year afterwards, but diversification into other product lines like luggage and clothes helped to revive Victorinox’s revenues, profits and brand.

Patrick Firmenich
Age: 49
Nationality: Swiss
Company: The Firmenich Group
Position: Chief executive
Revenues: €2.29 billion (fiscal 2011)

Patrick Firmenich took over as chief executive at the 117-year-old Swiss fragrance-maker in 2002, following his uncle Pierre-Yves. Since taking the helm of the fully family-owned business, Firmenich has been lauded for his corporate governance practices, a good family and business balance and for his sustainable practices. Under his watch, the company has signed a number of green charters and was last year’s winner of the IMD-Lombard Odier Global Family Business Award. The group enjoys its status as the largest privately-owned company in the fragrance and flavour industry, thanks to Firmenich’s emphasis on one of the company fundamentals: “Our independence gives us the freedom to control our destiny”.

Adi Godrej
Age: 69
Nationality: Indian
Company: Godrej Group
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €2.5 billion (fiscal 2010)

Adi Godrej is a big exponent of the family business model; one of India’s leading business professors called him a “true representative of stewardship”. He has more than put his mark on the conglomerate, which mainly makes consumer-focused products but is also involved in other sectors including property and engineering. Both his daughters and son are being nurtured up the ranks. Like Godrej, they were beneficiaries of education at top US universities. But Godrej has also employed numerous non-family managers to head the plethora of divisions at the Mumbai-based group, thus ensuring a high level of professionalism at the third-generation family-controlled business.

Donald Hall Jr
Age: 56
Nationality: American
Company: Hallmark Cards
Position: President and chief executive
Revenues: €3.20 billion (2010)

Donald Hall, son of the chairman of the largest greeting cards maker in the US, need not look further than his family for exemplary leaders. After all, Hall’s grandfather Joyce founded Hallmark when he was 18, while his father expanded the company internationally – the all-occasion Hallmark cards are hugely popular today. But 56-year-old Hall is well-prepared for the top job. He joined Hallmark in 1971 and handled manufacturing and sales, becoming president and chief executive in 2002. He’s led Hallmark through a challenging period due to the increased focus on online greetings, but under Hall’s leadership, the group reported consistent sales of more than €2.5 billion every year.

Nick Hayek
Age: 57
Nationality: Swiss
Company: Swatch Group
Position: Chief executive
Revenues: €5 billion (2010)

With a background in film production, Nick Hayek initially joined Switzerland’s Swatch Group in 1994 to oversee the family business’s marketing strategy. Son of Nicolas Hayek, the company’s legendary founder who died in 2010, Hayek held various positions within the firm before being appointed chief executive in 2003. Under his tenure the group, which is famous for its multi-coloured watches and owns brands like Omega and Breguet, diversified its production and expanded into China and the US. Between 2004 and 2010, sales jumped by 52.4%, up to CHF6.1 billion (€5.05 billion) in 2010 from just CHF4 billion six years earlier. Hayek aims to increase revenues to €8.4 billion by 2014.

Jurgen Heraeus
Age: 75
Nationality: German
Company: Heraeus Holding
Position: Chairman of supervisory board
Revenues: €22.02 billion (2010)

The great-grandson of the company founder, Heraeus was responsible for the internationalisation of the precious metals trading and technology firm, particularly in Asia – the continent now accounts for more than half of the group’s revenues. A strong exponent of the family business model since he took over the group’s chairmanship two decades ago, Heraeus has worked hard to ensure a balance between family stability and the success of the company. He turned over operational management to professionals in 2000. Heraeus is also an honorary chairman of Unicef in Germany.

Dominique Hériard Dubreuil
Age: 65
Nationality: French
Company: Rémy Cointreau
Position: Chairwoman
Revenues: €907.8 million (2010/2011)

Since taking over the chairwoman role in 1998, Dominique Hériard Dubreuil has revitalised the family business. She’s sold off marginal assets, while focusing heavily on marketing for its more famous brands, including Rémy Martin. Profits have grown strongly at the business, which she first joined when it was going through a merger with Cointreau in the early 1990s. The 65-year-old works closely with her brothers and credits a combined effort between them for the company’s transformation. “We are a team,” she says. Even so, she’s more than proved herself capable of leading a family business in a male-dominated industry.

Hyun Jeong-eun
Age: 56
Nationality: South Korean
Company: Hyundai Group
Position: Chairwoman
Revenues: €9.5 billion (2010 estimate)

Hyun Jeong-eun took over the chairmanship of Hyundai Group in 2003, when she succeeded her husband Chung Mong-hun after the then-chairman committed suicide. Considered among the most influential businesswomen in Asia, she helped the family firm — which traces its roots to a small construction company founded by her father-in-law Chung Ju-yung in 1947 — to grow strongly and expand internationally. She is also developing the business, building relations with North Korea; her links there are so strong that she was one of only a few South Koreans who attended the funeral proceedings of Kim Jong-il. Hyun plans to increase company revenues to $70 billion (€55.2 billion) by 2020.

Herbert Fisk Johnson
Age: 54
Nationality: American
Company: SC Johnson
Position: Chairman and chief executive
Revenues: €6.83 billion (2011 estimate)

Fisk Johnson is the fifth generation of the founding family to head the company famous for its household products. Since taking the helm in 2004, the company, whose brands include Ziploc and Mr Muscle, has grown consistently. Thanks to that, Johnson was awarded the Ron Brown Award for corporate leadership, a presidential honour, in 2006. Besides being a strong exponent of family ownership, Johnson is also known for focusing on environment-friendly methods of production. He often calls himself an environmentalist and a businessman, and serves on President Obama’s advisory committee for trade policy and negotiations.

Mustafa Koç
Age: 51
Nationality: Turkish
Company:
Koç Holding
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €22.86 billion (2010)

Mustafa Koç first joined Koç Holding in 1984 and was elected chairman of the board in 2003, taking over from his father Rahmi. Under Koç’s leadership the business has continued to expand internationally and grow strongly – revenues were up 43% in the first nine months of 2011. The grandson of the founder, who works closely with his brothers Mehmet and Ali, takes a long-term approach to business and also champions the family firm’s involvement in society by working on a number of education and health initiatives.

William Lauder
Age: 51
Nationality: American
Company: Estée Lauder
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €6.1 billion (2010/2011)

The grandson of cosmetic icon Estée Lauder, William Lauder joined the family business in 1986 and held various positions within the company before being appointed chief executive in 2004, a position he held until 2009. Under his leadership the skincare product firm, whose portfolio of brands include Clinique, Origins, MAC and Jo Malone, went from strength to strength, with a number of products increasing their market shares and revenues jumping 16.3% in five years. Now chairman, Lauder has also made an impact on the family business by focusing on good corporate governance and succession planning – he was responsible for bringing in outside manager Fabrizio Freda in 2009 – and by encouraging family members to be entrepreneurial. Last year, third-generation Aerin launched her own luxury brand.

Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller
Age: 52
Nationality: German
Company: Trumpf
Position: Chairman and president
Revenues: €2.02 billion (2010/2011)

Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller replaced her father, Berthold Leibinger, as president of the machine tool producer in 2005. Revenues at the Ditzingen-based business, which her father inherited from founder Christian Trumpf, dropped significantly during the global downturn, but under Leibinger-Kammüller’s leadership the business has since seen a complete turnaround. Last year was one of the company’s most successful ever, with sales rising from €1.34 billion to €2.02 billion. The company is expecting double-digit growth this year. Leibinger-Kammüller knows the business intimately, having worked in it her whole career, and is currently responsible for strategy, corporate communications, real estate and facilities.

Lim Kok Thay
Age: 60
Nationality: Malaysian
Company: Genting Group
Position: Chairman and chief executive
Revenues: €3.8 billion (2010)

Lim Kok Thay is the son of the late Lim Goh Tong, founder of leisure and hospitality conglomerate Genting Group. Lim was appointed director of the company in 1976 and became chairman and chief executive in 2003. Under his stewardship, Genting not only diversified into plantations, power generation, oil and gas, but also undertook international expansion of its flagship resort operations, joining up with US-based companies. Lim led the group’s opening of casinos in Singapore, today a significant source of revenue. Overall sales rose by 70% between 2009 and 2010 to RM15.2 billion (€3.8 billion) from RM8.9 billion, thanks to growth overseas – Genting is the largest casino operator in the UK. With Lim at the helm, the company has often been named the best-managed company in Malaysia.

Yuzaburo Mogi
Age: 74
Nationality: Japanese
Company: Kikkoman Corporation
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €2.67 billion (fiscal 2011)

It was once an obscure Asian seasoning, but over the last few decades soy sauce has become a mainstream global product. Much of the credit for this goes to Yuzaburo Mogi, head of what is today the world’s largest maker of naturally brewed soy sauce. A descendant of one of the founding families of Kikkoman, Mogi joined the company in 1958 and became chairman in 2004. He has run the business with significant dexterity, spearheading international expansion, particularly in the US – in 1973 Kikkoman became the first Japanese firm to open a food factory there.

Since then, there has been no looking back, with Mogi leading a number of acquisitions and mergers, both in Japan and in the US. So much so that Kikkoman adopted a holding company structure in 2009 to make acquisitions easier. International markets account for 30% of total sales and 60% of profits today. Revenues have remained consistently above €2 billion a year under Mogi’s leadership, thanks to growth of its various food product divisions, but profits did take a hit following the 2008/2009 credit crisis. However, Mogi’s diversification strategy paid off, as loss in one market during the period was offset by Kikkoman gaining market share elsewhere. The first Japanese citizen to get an MBA from Columbia University, Mogi has further ensured good management at the 95-year-old group, which traces its roots back to the 17th century. Since 2004 the firm’s presidents have been from outside the family, and although based in Tokyo, the company emphasises decentralisation of power to its foreign subsidiaries.

Vianney Mulliez
Age: 48
Nationality: French
Company: Auchan Group
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €42.5 billion (2010)

After taking over the top post from his uncle and founder of the French retail group Gérard Mulliez in 2006, billionaire businessman Vianney Mulliez proved his mettle by improving international performance. By 2008, 50% of group revenues were generated from outside France. Ownership is shared between the Mulliez family and employees (around 12%). The business has no intention of listing shares – Mulliez reckons this would “put pressure on short-term results, conflicting with the retailer’s long-term strategy”. Its efforts to reduce debt over the last few years have left the business with solid financial backing to pursue further international expansion.

Hans Georg Nader
Age: 50
Nationality: German
Company: Otto Bock Group
Position: President and chief executive
Revenues: €529 million (fiscal 2010)

Hans Georg Nader is the third-generation head of the Otto Bock Group, which makes prosthetic limbs and other products for amputees. Nader took over the group management when he was 28 and has since contributed much to improving its visibility internationally. He was named Germany’s entrepreneur of the year in 2003. Philanthropy also comes to the forefront by his contribution to education through the Otto Bock Foundation. The company will be in the limelight this year, thanks to Otto Bock being appointed the official prosthetic services provider during the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Jonathan Neame
Age: 47
Nationality: British
Company: Shepherd Neame
Position: Chief executive
Revenues: €145.84 million (fiscal 2011)

The fifth-generation chief executive of one of UK’s best-loved brewers is a strong exponent of the family business model. He reckons it is easier to run a family business when you are transparent about what you do – which is why Shepherd Neame holds an annual general meeting for not just the family and employees, but also the community. The brewer has had much to cope with over recent years, including the smoking ban in pubs and a general decline in beer consumption. But Neame has more than done his bit to offset difficulties for the business – he has focused on improving the brewer’s food operations and refurbished its pubs, which paid off last year with overall revenues rising by 5%. The brewer has grown consistently since Neame, a former barrister, took the helm in 1991. He also brought in a non-family chairman, the first in its history, in 2005 and was honoured with the Coutts Family Business Award in 2010.

Marilyn Carlson Nelson
Age: 73
Nationality: American
Company: Carlson
Position: Chairwoman
Revenues: €25.7 billion (2010, including franchises)

Marilyn Carlson Nelson was told to go home and raise her children by her father, but later became chief executive of the travel company after he had a change of heart in the 1990s. She’s since focused on making the family business family friendly – Carlson was named Working Mother’s 2011 best companies for hourly workers. Carlson Nelson has also pushed other ethical business practices, putting her name to the travel industry’s international code of conduct to combat the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. Under Carlson Nelson the family business, which includes brands such as Radisson and TGI Friday’s, has refocused on its hospitality and travel divisions. The aim is to increase its hotel portfolio by 50% by 2015.

Marcelo Bahia Odebrecht
Age: 42
Nationality: Brazilian
Company: Odebrecht
Position: Chief executive
Revenues: €25.2 billion (2010)

Grandson of the company’s founder, Marcelo Bahia Odebrecht is the third generation of the Odebrecht family to oversee the management of the Latin American conglomerate, whose interests range from engineering to petrochemicals. After heading the construction unit, he was appointed chief executive in 2008. Since then, Odebrecht has helped turn the company into a diversified multinational with a presence in four continents and more than 30 countries. Today, the Salvador-based firm is one of the fastest growing companies in the world, with revenues increasing by 669% in 10 years, from $4.2 billion (€3.2 billion) in 2000 to $32.3 billion in 2010. The company also supports a clear succession plan – next-gens are required to gain experience within the organisation before climbing up the ranks.

Richard Oetker
Age: 60
Nationality: German
Company: Oetker Group
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €9.45 billion (2010)

The great-grandson of the company’s founder, Richard Oetker took over managing the 100% family-owned firm in 2009, succeeding his brother August as chairman of the group. A member of the executive board since 1996, Oetker has been instrumental in growing the family business – whose interests range from baking powder and frozen pizza to insurance, banking and luxury hotels – outside Germany. Under Oetker’s tenure, the group has expanded in eastern European markets and is currently looking to develop its North American operations – it plans to open its first pizza plant in the continent this year.

Enrique Pescarmona
Age: 70
Nationality: Argentinian
Company: Impsa
Position: President and chief executive
Revenues: €780 million (fiscal 2011)

With more than four decades at the helm of the company started by his grandfather in 1907 as a manufacturer of winemaking equipment and cast-iron spare parts, Enrique Pescarmona can take credit for revamping the business into a renewable energy giant. Under his watch revenues rose by almost 95% between 2008 and 2011, thanks to strong demand for renewables. Sales will likely rise over the next few years as the need for wind farms, power generators and hydro-electric projects sees increased demand globally. A family member will likely succeed Pescarmona when he retires – four family members currently work in the business, with son Lucas the chief operating officer and daughter Sofia in charge of administration and human resources.

Mark Pigott
Age: 58
Nationality: American
Company: PACCAR
Position: Chairman and chief executive
Revenues: €11.7 billion (2011)

Fourth-generation Mark Pigott replaced his father, Charles, at the helm of the Seattle-based truck-making company 15 years ago, although he has worked in the business for more than 30 years. Pigott has since led PACCAR’s global expansion, making a number of international acquisitions, while sales have also grown strongly under his leadership. Revenues at the firm, started by his great-grandfather in 1905, increased four-fold since he took the helm in 1997. He’s a big advocate of education, and funds professorships and education programmes aimed at growing business knowledge.

Marc Puig
Age: 49
Nationality: Spanish
Company: Puig
Position: Chairman and chief executive
Revenues: €1.2 billion (2010)

The third generation of the Puig family to run the eponymous fragrance maker and fashion group, Marc Puig has led the company’s growth through internationalisation and acquisitions since he was named chief executive in 2004. Under his leadership, the firm strengthened its presence in Latin America, Russia and the Middle East, and became majority stakeholder in Jean Paul Gaultier. Puig, who is also chairman of the family business, aims to control 10% of the perfume market by 2016, a goal that seems possible for a company whose revenues grew by 50% between 2005 and 2010.

Bob Rich
Age: 70
Nationality: American
Company: Rich Products
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €2.34 billion (2011)

Second-generation Bob Rich describes himself as “probably the worst businessman you could meet”. But that hasn’t stopped the 70-year-old from turning his father’s start-up into a multi-billion-dollar company – sales have increased from $28 million (€21.5 million) in the 1960s when Rich joined to around $3 billion today. He champions the non-family chief-executive model, encharging Bill Gisel with the day-to-day running of the Buffalo-based business, which has a presence in 110 countries. He believes businesses should behave ethically – Rich’s avoids a number of markets because of concerns over worker safety or government corruption. He also gets the nod because he’s committed to retaining family ownership of the business, but next-gens, including three of his children, are expected to work hard and prove themselves.

Luiza Helena Trajano Inácio Rodrigues
Age: 59
Nationality: Brazilian
Company: Magazine Luiza
Position: Vice chairwoman
Revenues: €2.24 billion (2010)

What started life as a small gift shop outside of São Paulo in 1957 is now one of Brazil’s largest retailers of household goods and electronics in revenue terms. Much of the credit goes to Rodrigues, niece of the company founder, who worked her way through administration and sales, and became chief executive in 1991. Under her watch, the retailer witnessed strong growth, fuelled by an emphasis on not just customers and employees, but also the community – the group held entertainment shows and gave away free food to low-income groups. Rodrigues brought in professional management and followed a policy of hiring employees from the local community where every store was based. The retailer’s philosophy of “think big and expand” was underlined last year when Magazine Luiza listed on the stock exchange, raising around €410 million, for further expansion. One of the most powerful businesswomen in Brazil, the family business head is often sought by politicians, including President Dilma Rousseff, for her insights into the economy.

Juan Roig
Age: 62
Nationality: Spanish
Company: Mercadona
Position: Chief executive
Revenues: €16.48 billion (2010)

Spain might be on the edge of slipping back into recession, but that hasn’t stopped the country’s third-largest supermarket chain from not just boosting sales by 6% in 2010 but also seeing a rise in profits to the tune of around 50% to €398 million. Much of the group’s success lies in the hands of second-generation Juan Roig, who took over the running of the company from his father at the age of 32. The group’s strength lies in its low-cost products, absence of advertising and the management technique introduced by Roig in 1993. Called the total quality approach, it put in place relationship priorities, where customers are boss, with employees second in line, followed by suppliers and the management. Roig’s four daughters all sit on the supervisory board; Roig is said to believe that values are the best legacy you can leave future entrepreneurs.

Johann Rupert
Age: 61
Nationality: South African
Company: Richemont
Position: Chairman and chief executive
Revenues: €6.89 billion (fiscal 2011)

Rupert transformed Rembrandt Group, the South African business founded by his father Anton Rupert, into luxury group Richemont in the late 1980s. He’s since sat on the board of the Swiss-based company, which makes Cartier watches and Chloe clothing, and became executive chairman in 2002. He’s also been chief executive since 2010 – a role he’s held a number of times during challenging periods. Under his leadership, the business has focused heavily on acquisitions, including buying Net-a-Porter.com in 2010. Richemont has grown strongly, despite the tough economic conditions – sales were up 33% in the year ended 31 March 2011. He also led the business’s expansion in Asia, which now accounts for 40% of sales. Daughter Hanneli recently opened her own concept store in South Africa.

Güler Sabanci
Age: 56
Nationality: Turkish
Company: Sabanci Holding
Position: Chairwoman
Revenues: €10.14 billion (2010)

Güler Sabanci, one of the most powerful businesswomen in the world, is the third generation of the Sabanci family to run the company founded by her grandfather Haci in 1967. She has worked at the family business, whose operations span financial services, tyres, cement and energy, since 1978, taking over as chairwoman in 2004 following her uncle’s death. Also featured in CampdenFB’s list last year, Sabanci has played a key role in pushing the group to international markets, which increased turnover by around 30%. She has been at the forefront of philanthropic endeavours too, as president of the Sabanci Foundation. “I wear two hats. One is business and increasing my shareholders’ value; the other is social responsibility. I believe in the goodness of people, of trying to be a good person,” she said in 2006.

Ricardo Salgado
Age: 66
Nationality: Portuguese
Company: Espírito Santo Financial Group
Position: Chairman
Net Income: €122 million (2010)

Ricardo Salgado is the third generation of the Espírito Santo family to oversee the running of Espírito Santo Financial Group, one of Portugal’s biggest financial firms, spanning banking to insurance and healthcare. Salgado was appointed to the board of the 128-year-old company in 1984 and took over the chairmanship in 1991. Under his leadership, the family regained control of Banco Espírito Santo and insurance company Tranquilidade, both nationalised by the Portuguese government during the 1970s. Salgado also played a crucial role in expanding the firm into new areas, such as asset management and investment banking, as well as strengthening the family business’s presence in Europe, the US, Brazil, Africa and the Middle East.

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele
Age: 53
Nationality: Swiss
Company: Chopard
Position: Co-chief executive
Revenues: N/A

As the second-generation head of the Swiss watch and jewellery maker, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has much to live up to. After all, his parents bought Chopard in the 1960s and transformed it into one of the leading names in the high-end watch and jewellery industry. But Scheufele, who is chief executive along with his sister, has more than proved his mettle at the fully family-owned business. He is known for moving the production of watches in-house, which made it one of the business’s top revenue generating segments. Quality is the top priority for Scheufele, exemplified by Chopard being one of four members of the Fleurier Quality Foundation, a leading quality controller.

Daniel Servitje Montull
Age: 51
Nationality: Mexican
Company: Grupo Bimbo
Position: Chief executive
Revenues: €6.85 billion (2010)

A small teddy bear wearing a white apron and a chef’s hat is an image synonymous with Grupo Bimbo, the world’s largest bread maker with revenues of almost €7 billion in 2010. In his role as chief executive of the Latin American group, co-founded by his father in 1954, Daniel Servitje Montull has been a force to reckon with following a spree of acquisitions over the last couple of years. Bimbo acquired the US operations of George Weston Foods and bakery company Sara Lee, making the Mexican family business one of the world’s largest food companies. The Montull family owns around 40% of the bakery, known for brands such as Entenmann’s cakes, Thomas English Muffins and Pan Bimbo. Montull’s uncle Roberto is group chairman while a number of family members sit on the board of directors.

Atul Shah
Age: 50
Nationality: Kenyan
Company: Nakumatt
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €237 million (2010)

Atul Shah has transformed the business his father bought in 1978 into east Africa’s largest retailer. Inspired by US’s big supermarkets, Nakuru Mattresses became Nakumatt – known for its large, western-style stores and now the region’s biggest connection to the world of globalised consumerism. Shah is currently pushing the company’s Nakumatt 2.0 corporate strategy – new stores have been opened in Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda, and more are planned across much of the rest of Africa. He also gets the nod for his next-gen efforts – three members are currently being trained in operations, marketing and business development.

Laura Shapira
Age: 42
Nationality: American
Company: Giant Eagle
Position: Chief executive
Revenues: €7.25 billion (2010)

The first next-gen of the founding family to take over the running of grocery chain Giant Eagle in more than 30 years, Laura Shapira succeeded her father David as chief executive in 2011. Shapira has large shoes to fill; after all, her father was instrumental in building up the business from a mid-sized food company to a giant retail and food distributor with more than $9 billion (€7.25 billion) in revenues. But Shapira has proved that she is more than up to the task, thanks to her experience both within and outside the family business. The fourth-generation head worked at Sara Lee and Procter & Gamble in the 1990s, before joining Giant Eagle in 2000.

She started as vice-president of marketing and rose up the ranks to become chief strategy officer and senior executive vice-president before taking the company helm last year. While part of the management team, Shapira spearheaded the opening of a number of new discount stores, as a response to increased competition from retail behemoths like Walmart. The 42-year-old has much in her favour to one day take the chairmanship, having been named as a regional winner in the 2011 Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year awards in the US. Shapira has strong ambitions and is looking to expand operations outside of the four US states it currently operates in.

Ratan Tata
Age: 74
Nationality: Indian
Company: Tata Group
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €64.99 billion (fiscal 2010/2011)

As head of iconic Indian conglomerate Tata Group, Ratan Tata has been fundamental to its evolution from a $6 billion (€4.6 billion) company to an $83 billion group with worldwide operations. The fifth generation of the Tata family finds a place on this list thanks to the group’s astute plans to find a suitable successor for Tata when he retires at the end of 2012. It would be a hard task to follow in Tata’s footsteps, well known as a consummate dealmaker with a keen eye on expansion. Following a year-long deliberation by a selection committee, all eyes are now on Cyrus Mistry, a family member by marriage, who has been named as the next chairman.

Arunachalam Vellayan
Age: 59
Nationality: Indian
Company: Murugappa Group
Position: Executive chairman
Revenues: €2.96 billion (fiscal 2010/2011)

The 110-year-old conglomerate is one of India’s oldest family businesses, with descendants of the founders still running the company. Vellayan, the fourth-generation chairman, is on a mission to expand the group, whose operations range from fertilizers and plantations to bicycles and finance. He aims to double revenues, from the current $3.8 billion (€2.9 billion), by 2014 – a feat not unimaginable for Vellayan, under whose leadership five of the group’s plethora of companies reported record performances last year. Overall revenues rose by 25% during fiscal 2010/2011. Often referred to as the Tata Group of south India, the company’s visibility also improved since Vellayan took over from his uncle in 2009, thanks to his international outlook. But family continuity remains at the heart of the business – two of Vellayan’s sons work at the Chennai-based group.

George Weston
Age: 47
Nationality: British
Company: Associated British Foods
Position: Chief executive
Revenues: €13.34 billion (fiscal 2011)

George Weston took over as chief executive of food company Associated British Foods in 2005. He came with plenty of experience heading other divisions and subsidiaries of the multinational group, as well as running the Australian division of George Weston Foods, the food processing business headed by his uncle Galen. Under Weston’s watch revenues at the British group have grown consistently, rising to £11.1 billion (€13.3 billion) in 2011 from around £5.6 billion when he took the helm. Weston has also focused on sustainable practices and charitable donations. ABF, through the holding company Wittington Investments, paid out around £73 million in dividends last year, with the majority targeted at good causes.

Francis Yeoh
Age: 57
Nationality: Malaysian
Company: YTL Corporation
Position: Managing director Revenues: €4.58 billion (fiscal 2011)

Francis Yeoh joined what was then a construction firm, founded by his father, in 1988 and converted YTL Corporation into a multinational infrastructure conglomerate. The company is one of south-east Asia’s biggest power groups, thanks to Yeoh’s business acumen. He obtained notoriety for sitting tight on the group’s cash pile of $3.8 billion (€2.9 billion) in 2008, refusing to “buy assets that were two or three times the market value”. When markets collapsed the next year, Yeoh went on an acquisition spree, strengthening YTL’s position as a top power supplier. He runs the business along with his brothers and led the $1 billion-plus acquisition of the UK’s Wessex Water in 2002 – the water company has often been named the best in the country for its sustainable practices.

Paolo Zegna
Age: 55
Nationality: Italian
Company: Ermenegildo Zegna Group
Position: Chairman
Revenues: €963 million (2010)

The fourth generation of the founding family to run the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, Paolo Zegna worked his way up the family business, becoming the company’s joint chief executive in 1998 along with his cousin Gildo. Now chairman, Zegna transformed the Piedmont-based group, which started out as a weaving business in 1910, through expansion into new markets, such as India, China and Mexico. He also oversaw a number of acquisitions including woollen mill Lanerie Agnona and Guida, owner of leather goods brand Longhi. Under Zegna’s tenure, the family business opened numerous stores around the world and increased its financial transparency.

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala
Age: 52
Nationality: Filipino
Company: Ayala Corporation
Position: Chairman and chief executive
Revenues: €1.76 billion (2010)

The popular belief that family businesses don’t last beyond the third generation doesn’t hold true for the Philippines’ Ayala Corporation, whose operations range from retail and real estate to electronics and water infrastructure. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala is the eighth generation of the Ayala family to run the company and is well known for his role in transforming Manila’s run-down publicly operated water system into a visionary public-private partnership. With investments of more than $1 billion into the country’s water system, Zobel astutely integrated financial success with social responsibility. For this he received the alumni achievement award from his alma mater Harvard Business School in 2007. The Zobel de Ayalas are often called the “royal” family of the Philippines.

Methodology:
CampdenFB drew up a long list of more than 200 family business leaders across the globe on the basis of these three criteria:
• The candidate showed exceptional adherence to good corporate governance and succession planning
• The candidate showed outstanding entrepreneurial talent in the context of the family business
• The candidate has been crucial to the successful running of the business in the last five years and helped to underpin its profitability

The family business also had to meet certain criteria:
• The family controls at least 25% of the company’s decision-making rights
• The share capital controlled by the family is at least in its second generation
• The company had revenues of at least €100 million

The long list was then judged, using the criteria above, by six leading family business experts, who decided on the top 50 family business leaders. The judges include Randel Carlock, professor at INSEAD; Kavil Ramachandran from the Indian School of Business; Joachim Schwass of Swiss-based IMD; Dana Telford, a US-based family business adviser; John Ward, professor at Kellogg School of Management; and David Bain, editorial director at Campden Wealth.

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