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International family business award goes to chemicals firm

A 130-year-old US chemicals and industries company has taken the top honour at an international awards ceremony held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A 130-year-old US chemicals and industries company has taken the top honour at an international awards ceremony held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

J M Huber Corporation (Huber) was presented with the IMD-Lombard Odier Global Family Business Award, at the culmination of the FBN-I annual summit, held this week.

According to the award judges, the firm was recognised for family inclusiveness, business governance, communications excellence, and successful management of the transition from family to non-family leadership.

Previous winners of the award have included Lego Group, Hermes and Murugappa Group.

Founded in New York in 1883 by German immigrant Joseph Maria Huber, the company employs 4,000 people and operates in more than 20 countries. It saw revenues of $1.7 billion last year.

Huber started in ink production just as mass media took off in the US. It has since expanded into materials such as dental silicas and hydrocolloids, which are used in everything from foods to pharmaceuticals.

Still fully family owned, the company invests heavily in educating family members on its business and family business matters in general, and host shared activities to promote inclusivity.

Award director Benoit Leleux – a professor of IMD Business School, which sponsors the awards – said: “In today’s fast-moving markets, strategic agility and adaptability are key to sustainability.

“Portfolios of activities have to be managed actively, with distributed governance capabilities. In that way, Huber impresses by its ability to combine the best family has to offer with leading-edge board development capabilities.”

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