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Top 50 family business leaders 2015

From Australia to the United Arab Emirates, and Ayala Corporation to Williams F1 – we’ve scoured the globe to find the top family business leaders for 2015

Welcome to the Top 50 Family Business Leaders List 2015 – the fifth time CampdenFB has compiled its list of leading lights.

This year we’ve examined family businesses under the usual criteria of governance, growth and innovation, but we’ve also placed a strong focus on inclusivity and diversity. This could be in the composition of leadership of their business, boards or senior management, the establishment of special initiatives to promote equality and diversity, partnerships or other efforts. You will also notice that some businesses have more than one leader represented – this is because we want to recognise the family in family businesses, whether it be a husband and wife team, or siblings sharing executive roles.

We have a host of new names in 2015. That’s not because last year’s leaders have fallen from favour, rather it’s a reflection of how far we’ve gone to find those family business heads who are making a mark in different parts of the globe. New, exciting faces include: Gunvor and Tore Ulstein, whose Norwegian maritime company wholeheartedly embraces gender diversity, and Eduardo Belmont is on the list for social responsibility, as he seeks to improve female economic empowerment in Peru both through the family business and its foundation. It’s difficult too to miss out Gigi Chao who was thrust into the limelight when her father offered a dowry to any man that could turn his daughter straight last year, only to break the “glass closet” and be appointed vice chairwoman of the family property business seven months later.

Still, there are several who have been included again. Preetha Reddy has been joined by her three sisters after the four second-generation sisters were promoted to key executive roles at India’s Apollo Hospitals. Nobutada Saji had a big year steering Suntory to its $16 billion purchase of US whiskey business Beam Inc. and Raja Easa Al Gurg continues to carve a reputation for herself through her support and encouragement of Arab women entrepreneurs.

We’d like to acknowledge the assistance of Professor Gonzalo Gómez-Betancourt, director of the family business department and a professor of business policy at INALDE Business School, Universidad de La Sabana (Colombia). Professor Gonzalo Gómez-Betancourt suggested a host of Latin American businesses to research. We hope you enjoy this top 50 list and do let us know of any we should consider for 2016.

The CampdenFB Top 50 Family Business Leaders 2015
(By region, then in alphabetical order)

Gareth Ackerman
Age: 57
Company: Pick n Pay
Role: Chairman
Revenues: ZAR$59.3 billion (2013)/$5.22 billion
Country: South Africa
NOMINATED FOR GROWTH

As chairman of one of Southern Africa’s biggest retail chains, Oxford graduate Gareth Ackerman oversees more than 42,000 employees and 1,117 stores. The second-gen executive increased profit before tax by 34.9% in the six months to 31 August 2014 and predicts further growth to follow. Ackerman has years of experience in the retail industry, serving as managing director of Blue Ribbon Butcheries before his appointment in 1992. He also manages the Ackerman family office. 

Folorunsho Alakija
Age: 64
Company: Famfa Limited 
Role: Managing director
Country: Nigeria
NOMINATED FOR DIVERSITY

Returning from an education in the UK, Alakija’s career began as a secretary, but she went on to found several businesses, most notably oil and gas company Famfa – still 60% owned by the family. Her four sons work in the business. In 2013, she was appointed vice chairman of the National Heritage Council and Endowment for the Arts and also runs the Rose of Sharon Foundation, which grants scholarships and funds to widows and orphans. 

Mohammed Dewji
Age: 40
Company: METL Group 
Role: Chief executive
Revenues: $1.5 billion 
Country: Tanzania
NOMINATED FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP

After second-generation Mohammed Dewji returned from his studies in the US, he joined his father’s conglomerate METL Group and transformed it into an industrial powerhouse. Last year, he launched a new soda to compete with Coca-Cola in Africa. The ambitious project adds to his diversified business interests, which range from textiles to bicycles. 

Janine Diagou
Age: 41
Company: NSIA Group 
Role: Deputy director general
Revenues: €215 million (2011)/$236 million
Country: Ivory Coast
NOMINATED FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Deputy director general of the insurance and banking group NSIA Participations and chief executive of NSIA Bank, Diagou is the daughter of NSIA Group president and founder Jean Kacou Diagou. Diagou started working at NSIA Group, a leading insurance group in French-speaking west and central Africa, in 1999 as a director responsible for audit and control management of NSIA Ivory Coast. She is now pushing its banking business and digital innovation strategy. 

Lamia Tazi
Age: 37
Company: Sothema 
Role: Managing director
Revenues: MAD$1.1 billion/$110 million (2013)
Country: Morocco
NOMINATED FOR ONE TO WATCH

This second-generation leader has helped transform her father’s pharmaceutical business into an international player, with laboratories now present in more than30 countries. Last year revenues were up 9.6%. Her mission is to capitalise on Sothema’s partnership with the health ministry – to improve the health sector in Morocco – through commercial relations and scientific training in the region. Sothema was the first Moroccan pharmaceutical laboratory to be listed on the Casablanca stock market.

Vimal Shah
Age: 55
Company: Bidco Oil Refineries
Role: Chief executive
Revenues: $500 million
Country: Kenya
NOMINATED FOR ENTREPR

Vimal Shah recognised the potential of cottonseeds when he was working for his father’s small garment business in the 1980s. It wasn’t long before Shah and his brother, Tamal, began importing cottonseed oil from Malaysia with the intention of founding a soap business. Today, Shah is among the wealthiest people in Africa and a lead investor in Tatu City – a new $3 billion satellite city to be built near Nairobi. 

Sharon and Jeffrey Wapnick
Age: Sharon 51/Jeffrey 53
Company: Octodec Investments/Premium Properties 
Role: Chairwoman (Sharon), Managing director (Jeffrey)
RevenuesOctodec ZAR537.8 million / $46.1 million - Premium ZAR650.6 million / $56.5 million 
Country: South Africa
NOMINATED FOR STEWARDSHIP

Sharon and Jeffrey Wapnick are a second-generation brother and sister team with all the right credentials. Jeffrey took on the role of managing director in Octodec Investments and Premium Properties in 2011, while Sharon was appointed non-executive chairman. The duo remerged their father’s two companies this year and the newly-formed Octodec is thought to have a real estate portfolio worth $857 million. 

John Casella
Company: Casella Family Brands
Role: Managing director
Revenues: $500 million - $1 billion+
Country: Australia
NOMINATED FOR INNOVATION

John Casella is hoping the rising US dollar will give the company a stronger foothold in that market – the strong Australian dollar had hit profits the previous year, but Casella stuck to its pricing. The company is also launching new beverages including sangria, cider and craft beer. It was Casella Family Brands’ family ownership that landed the company the blessing to acquire Peter Lehman wines last year – the founder’s widow felt patient, long-term capital was needed in the cyclical wine industry. 

Gigi Chao
Age: 34
Company: Cheuk Nang 
Role: Vice chairwoman
Revenues: HKD49.76 million/$6.4 million
Country: Hong Kong
NOMINATED FOR REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

Thrust into the limelight when her father offered a dowry to any man that could turn her straight, Gigi Chao broke the “glass closet” in 2014, being appointed vice chairwoman of the family property business. Chao’s first major project is the tender of 32-storey office building Cheuk Nang Plaza. Her social media channels reveal a loving relationship with her father, the company’s chairman, despite their differences, something that is reflected in the news media, which has taken a huge interest in her story. 

Miwako Date
Company: Mori Trust Group
Role: Executive managing director
Revenues¥19.8 billion / $165 million 
Country: Japan
NOMINATED FOR GROWTH

Mori Trust Group’s third gen Miwako Date is also president of the company’s hotels and resorts subsidiary – expected to be its biggest driver of growth in the coming year. Date believes Japan’s tourism industry is growing both with business and leisure travellers – not to mention the anticipated boom from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Last year the property giant acquired Tokyo wedding venue Meguro Gajoen in a $1.25 billion deal, and this year it will launch luxury hotel Suiran in Kyoto, with partner Starwood Hotels & Resorts. 

Merrill J Fernando and Sons
Age: Merrill, 84/ Malik (left), 49/ Dilhan, 47
Company: Dilmah Group
Role: Chariman (Merrill), Director (Malik and Dilhan)
Revenues: $500 million (2013)
Country: Sri Lanka
NOMINATED FOR FAMILY VALUES

Despite now being one of the top 10 tea brands in the world, Dilmah will always be a “small, family brand”, according to Merrill J Fernando. He founded it in 1988 because he saw most of the profits of Sri Lanka’s tea industry going to international corporations. Joined by his sons Dilhan and Malik (after whom the business is named), Fernando represents the brand at events around the world. Last year, the company diversified into hospitality, with Resplendent Ceylon – a collection of small luxury resorts. 

Roshni Nadar
Age: 33
Company: HCL Corporation 
Role: Executive director and chief executive
Revenues: $6.5 billion
Country: India
NOMINATED FOR ONE TO WATCH

Nadar is not a tech guru, but she insists she can still add value on the HCL Technologies board, one of the family business’s most lucrative subsidiaries. The company has seen revenues rise 14.4% and pass the $5 billion mark for the first time. Net income is up 41.6% to $1 billion. Last year, HCL Corporation also announced it is expanding into healthcare, with a division that aims to cater to India’s 300-million strong urban middle class.  

Reddy Sisters
Age: Preeth Reddy, 58/ Suneeta Reddy, 56/ Sangita Reddy, 53/ Shobana Kamineni, 55 

Company: Apollo Hospitals
Role: Co-executive vice chairwomen, co-managing directors
Revenues: INR43,842 million/$622 million
Country: India
NOMINATED FOR ONES TO WATCH

Indian family businesses are traditionally passed down male bloodlines, so to see four sisters promoted to executive roles in one business is the exception, not the rule. Each Reddy sister has their own niche to take the family business to the next level – from government policy to strategy and finance, as well as advancements in digital healthcare. With full support from her siblings, executive vice chairwoman Preetha Reddy is heir apparent.  

Nobutada Saji
Age: 69
Company: Suntory Holdings 
Role: Chief executive and chair
Revenues¥2.45 trillion / $20.5 billion 
Country: Japan
NOMINATED FOR GROWTH

Japan’s fourth-largest brewer and food manufacturer, Suntory Holdings last year bought Jim Beam, the renowned US bourbon brand. The $16 billion deal was under the leadership of third-gen Nobutada Saji who maintains an 8.9% stake in the family-shared fortune. The businessman broke family tradition in October by handing over presidency to Takeshi Niinami, previously chairman of Japanese convenience store franchise Lawson. Saji hopes to eventually return management to the founding family. 

Tdashi Yanai
Age: 66
Company: Fast retailing 
Role: Chairman, president and chief executive
Revenues¥1.4 trillion / $13.3 billion 
Country: Japan
NOMINATED FOR GROWTH, INNOVATION

Tadashi Yanai has grown his father’s Ube City roadside tailor shop into one of the world’s largest retailers, Fast Retailing, of which Uniqlo is its most well-known brand. Yanai’s two sons, Kazumi and Koji, are group senior vice presidents, although no formal succession plans have been outlined. He expects to open a scheduled 200 new stores increasing the overall network to 820 stores by August 2015. 

Jamie Zobel de Ayala
Age: 55
Company: Ayala Corporation 
Role: Chairman and chief executive
Revenues: PHP146 billion/$9.8 billion (2013)
Country: Philippines
NOMINATED FOR GOVERNANCE

Though Ayala Corporation’s profits rose 22% to 12.8 billion pesos in 2013, its home country took a battering from the brutal Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded. However, the company has made a number of positive strides in 2014, continuing with rising profits, and also securing the IMD-Lombard Odier Global Family Business Award. The family has also been giving back through its foundation to those both within and outside its business affected by the typhoon.

Yannick Bollore
Age: 35
Company: Havas
Role: Chief executive
Revenues: €1.87 billion / $2.1 billion
Country: France
NOMINATED FOR ONE TO WATCH

Having been appointed global chief executive of global advertising agency Havas early last year, Bolloré has handled the transition from non-family executive David Jones smoothly. Part of the family’s multi-billion euro empire, Havas posted organic growth of 5.1% in 2014 thanks to new clients including PayPal and Emirates. Industry rumours suggest an eventual tie up with Vivendi, part of the family holding company Bolloré Group. His father, Vincent, has already hinted at plans for his son to one day take the reins at the family business. 

Ana Botin
Age: 54
Company: Santander Group
Role: Chairwoman
Revenues: €42.6 billion/$47.6 billion
Country: Spain
NOMINATED FOR GOVERNANCE

Despite an emergency succession transition, following the sudden death of her father in September, Botín has already made her mark at the top of Santander, including several significant changes at the C-suite level. She became the first woman to run a major British bank when she became Santander UK’s chief executive in 2010; her latest appointment makes her one of the most powerful women in European banking. 

John Elkann
Age: 39
Company: Fiat Chrysler 
Role: Chairman
Revenues: $108 billion
Country: Italy
NOMINATED FOR GROWTH

It’s been a big year for the expanding empire of Fiat Chrysler fifth-gen chair John Elkann. In January, the Italian automaker Fiat and US carmaker Chrysler merged, creating the seventh largest carmaker in the world. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles now plans to spin off luxury carmaker Ferrari and sell a 10% stake on the stock market. This is part of a bigger strategy by FCA to fund a €48 billion investment plan. 

Emma Marcegaglia
Age: 50
Company: Marcegaglia 
Role: Co-chief executive
Revenues: €4.2 billion (2013)/$4.67 billion
Country: Italy
NOMINATED FOR GOVERNANCE

Co-executive of her family’s eponymous steel company, Emma Marcegaglia was appointed chairwoman at state energy group Eni in November 2014. Marcegaglia, who promised to continue her role at the family firm, was one of three women to be nominated to top posts in the government shake up, as the Italian prime minster Matteo Renzi makes a push to get more women in Italian boardrooms. Since 2012, she has been president of Business Europe, the region’s largest business lobby.  

Salvador Tous and Rosa Oriol
Company: Tous
Role: C0-chairs
Revenues: €371 million/$415 million
Country: Spain
NOMINATED FOR FAMILY VALUES, GROWTH

Not only will Catalan family business Tous re-enter the Chinese market in 2015, it is reportedly in talks with Morgan Stanley about its strategic growth options. Husband and wife team Salvador Tous and Rosa Oriol, along with their daughters, are brand ambassadors, and very publicly emphasise their family’s commitment to the brand. The brand’s famous teddy bear emblem was created by Oriol. 

Andy Rubin
Age: 49
Company: Pentland Group 
Role: Chairman of the brand management division
Revenues: £1.9 billion (2013)/$2.9 billion
Country: UK
NOMINATED FOR ONE TO WATCH

In January, Andy Rubin became the first ever chairman of the brand management division at Pentland Group, the UK company operating in the sports, outdoor and fashion sectors. Third-gen Rubin has been in the company for 23 years, serving 16 as chief executive. Last year, the firm was awarded the Best Overall People Management and Best Employee Engagement in the UK by the CIPD, not to mention CampdenFB Top Family Business in the European Families in Business Awards. 

Christina Stenbeck
Age: 37
Company: Investment AB Kinnevik 
Role: Executive chairwoman and principal
Revenues: SEK 1.5 billion (2013)/$184 million
Country: Sweden
NOMINATED FOR INNOVATION

Cristina Stenbeck, executive chairwoman and principal of Investment AB Kinnevik, founded by her grandfather, took on two more important roles in 2014. In February she was appointed supervisory board chairwoman of the board at Europe’s biggest online fashion retailer, Zalando. In May she became chairman at telecoms giant Millicom. Thanks to Stenbeck, shares in Kinnevik have more than doubled in six years, surpassing some of Sweden’s other prominent family investment firms. 

Gonvor and Tore Ulstein
Age: Gunvor, 45/ Tore, 47
Company: Ulstein Group
Role: Chief executive (Gunvor), Chairman (Tore)
Revenues: NOK2.3 billion (2013)/$286 million
Country: Norway
NOMINATED FOR BOARD GENDER DIVERSI, SUSTAINABILITY

Norwegian shipbuilding firm Ulstein is a leader in maritime design and shipbuilding, and was awarded the 2006 and 2013 ship of the year for its innovative X-Bow designed ships. Third-gens Gunvor and Tore oversee the 98-year- old business, which excels in board gender diversity: it has four women and three men on its board. Resolutely focused on innovation, Ulstein also has a strong emphasis on sustainability and is a member of the United Nations’ sustainability programme, UN Global Compact. 

Sir Frank Williams and Claire Williams
Age: Frank, 72/ Claire, 38
Company: Williams F1
Role: Principal and chairman (Frank), Deputy principal (Claire)
Revenues: £130.4 million/$201 million
Country: UK
NOMINATED FOR TURNAROUND

One year on from its worst ever Formula 1 season, British motorsport team and family business Williams F1 returned to the winners’ podium in 2014, coming third in the constructors’ championship. The success is a boost for Claire Williams, who became deputy team principal in 2013, and aims to return the team to its former glory days of the late 1970s and 1980s. Williams F1 has also created an advanced engineering division that develops technology from its race cars for use outside Formula 1. 

Eduardo Belmont
Age: 69
Company: Belcorp
Role: Chief executive
Revenues: $2 billion
Country: Peru
NOMINATED FOR EMPOWERMENT

Belcorp has made Belmont Peru’s wealthiest man, but has also enabled the economic empowerment of hundreds of thousands of women. The company’s cosmetics are sold by door-to-door consultants who work flexible hours – especially appealing to women with families. It was Belmont’s grandfather who first entered the cosmetics business, buying French Botica before founding Laboratories Abeefe. Now Belmont’s biggest rival is his brother, head of Yanbal International. Belmont’s daughter Claudia heads the company’s foundation, founded in 2003 and dedicated to female empowerment in Latin America.  

Jose Antonio Fernandez Carbajal
Age: 61
Company: Femsa 
Role: Chairman
Revenues: $17.5 billion
Country: Mexico
NOMINATED FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Fernández has been chairman of the Mexican family business he married into since 2001, and during that period its revenues have grown more than five-fold. He is also civic minded – committing himself to clean up Monterrey, where the company is headquartered, which has been troubled by drug cartel violence in recent years. He is joined on the board by his wife Eva Maria Garza Lagüera Gonda and two of her sisters, who along with their mother and a fourth sister are majority stakeholders.

Carlos Pellas
Age: 62 
Company: Grupo Pellas
Role: Chairman
Revenues: $1.5 billion
Country: Nicaragua
NOMINATED FOR RESILIENCE

When Nicaragua emerged from eight years of civil war in 1987, Carlos Pellas committed himself to getting back the century-old family business the state had seized. The family’s sugar mill had been the country’s largest business, and it also owned Banco America. A 1989 plane crash left the fourth gen with severe burns and hand injuries, but he continued his mission to restore the business, and last year Bloomberg declared him the country’s first billionaire. Looking ahead, the fourth gen is expanding the family empire with a resort in southern Nicaragua. 

Alejandro Ramirez
Age: 43
Company: Cinepolis 
Role: Chief executive
Country: Mexico
NOMINATED FOR GROWTH

Cinépolis is a “local dynamo”, according to a 2014 report on emerging market companies by Boston Consulting Group, and it is set to take on the multinationals. Although the privately-owned company doesn’t disclose revenues, today it is the largest cinema operator in Mexico with 2,800-plus screens in Latin America and India. It outperforms foreign rivals with its plush cinemas, which appeal to the rising middle classes, as well as local touches – such as its lemon juice and chilli-flavoured popcorns. 

Joseph Safra
Age: 76
Company: Safra Group 
Role: Chairman
Country: Brazil
NOMINATED FOR LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY

The Safra family is known for focusing on the long-term, and late last year, current patriarch Joseph Safra wound up two deals that, if tradition remains true, will stay in family hands for generations. They bought one of London’s most iconic skyscrapers, The Gherkin, for $1.1 billion, and Chiquita bananas for $1.3 billion. As well as adding to its portfolio, the family’s eponymous bank, headquartered in São Paulo, saw net profits up 14% in 2014. The banking empire doesn’t disclose revenues, but has $200 billion assets under management.  

Carlo Solari
Age: 43
Company: Falabella
Role: Chairman
Revenues: $13.6 billion 
Country: Chile
NOMINATED FOR ONE TO WATCH

Solari had plenty of family support when he succeeded his father at the helm of Chile’s largest retailer. His cousin, Juan Carlos Cortés Solari, is vice chairman of the board, and the department store chain’s chief executive is his brother Sandro Solari Donaggio, who has been in charge for two years. Growth is part of the triumvirate’s goal – last year Falabella bought Peruvian home improvement chain, Maestro, for about $490 million. In January, it announced plans to expand its footprint in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay with a $4.4 billion investment. 

 

Umit Boyner
Age: 52
Company: Boyner Holdings 
Role: Board member
Revenues: TRY 1.4 billion (2013)/ $575 million
Country: Turkey
NOMINATED FOR ADVOCACY

The former retail executive joined the board of her husband’s family business in 2002. She later served a two-year term as chairwoman at Turkey’s leading business association, TÜSİAD, where she advocated for good governance, but also acted as a business ambassador for her country. Boyner also had a short political career in which she urged Turkey to take a more active role in international affairs. She runs the Nar Taneleri (Pomegranate Seeds) project, which helps young Turkish women raised in orphanages start their own businesses. 

Pierre and Lena Choueiri
Company: Choueiri Group
Role: Chairman and chief executive (Pierre), Vice chairman and CFO (Lena)
Country: Dubai/Lebanon
NOMINATED FOR INNOVATION

Brother and sister pair Pierre and Lena Choueiri head the media firm Choueiri Group, founded 50 years ago by their father. The group’s companies market and manage the advertising space of more than 50 represented media including TV and newspapers from Al Arabiya to Al Hayat. The group is estimated to handle $1 billion of advertising annually, making it one of the region’s biggest media empires. 

Amr Abdullah Al-Dabbagh
Age: 49
Company: Al-Dabbagh Group 
Role: Chairman and chief executive
Country: Saudi Arabia
NOMINATED FOR GOVERNANCE

Amr Abdullah Al-Dabbagh is an advocate of corporate social responsibility and this year launched a 2020 strategy focused on three core principles of giving, earning and sustaining. The 49-year-old also promotes the Club 32 Initiative, a programme to engage the 32 third-generation Al-Dabbagh family members. Al-Dabbagh is a former Saudi government minister and founder of the Stars Foundation, an independent charity focused on disadvantaged children.  

Raja Easa Al Gurg
Age: 60
Company: Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group 
Role: Managing Director
Revenues: $250 million - $500 million+
Country: United Arab Emirates (Duabi)
NOMINATED FOR ADVOCACY

Raja Easa Al Gurg joined the board of directors at the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group in 1989, carving a reputation for herself through her support and encouragement of Arab women entrepreneurs. She became the first ever Emirati woman to be appointed to the board of HSBC Bank Middle East in 2014 and is frequently listed as one of the Middle East’s most influential people. She is an advocate for women in business, and is president of the Dubai Business Women’s Council.

Jafar Brothers
Age: Badr, 35/ Majid, 38
Company: Crescent Group
Role: Managing director of Crescent Group, (Badr). Chief executive of Crescent Petroleum (Majid)
Country: United Arab Emirates (Sharjah)
NOMINATED FOR GOVERNANCE 

Badr (pictured far right) and Majid Jafar run the petroleum-to-port conglomerate Crescent Group, but are also involved in reshaping corporate governance in the United Arab Emirates. The brothers ar hugely concerned by youth unemployment in the region, where up t 60% are out of work in some areas, and are hoping to absorb some the 200 million jobseekers that are expected over the next 20 years. 

Ghassan Nuqul
Age: 53
Company: Nuqul Group 
Role: Vice chairman
Revenues: $701 million 
Country: Jordan
NOMINATED FOR GOVERNANCE 

Nuqul Group vice chairman Ghassan E Nuqul joined the family business in 1985 after obtaining his MBA in the US. He has played an integral role in separating ownership and management at the 63-year- old business, appointing two non-family members as chief executives of the group in 2004. The conglomerate now has more than 5,100 employees and operates 31 companies in 47 markets. 

Lubna Olayan
Age: 59
Company: Olayan Financing Co 
Role: Chief executive
Revenues: $500 million - $1 billion 
Country: Saudi Arabia
NOMINATED FOR DIVERSIFICATION 

As chief executive of one of the region’s largest conglomerates, Saudi businesswoman Lubna Olayan oversees more than 15,000 people and a multi- billion-dollar portfolio. The commercial
side of her group comprises more than 40 companies, with interests in office equipment, food processing, restaurants and distribution. Olayan holds the distinction
of being the first woman in Saudi history to deliver an opening keynote address at a major conference in Saudi Arabia. 

Suleyman Tiryakioglu
Age: 40
Company: Tiryaki Agro
Role: Chief executive
Revenues: $1.5 billion
Country: Turkey
NOMINATED FOR GROWTH

Süleyman Tiryakioğlu is credited with turning the small lentil processing factory started by his father into the largest agricultural company in Turkey. Prior to joining the family business, Tiryakioğlu worked at Horizon Agro Trader in Canada, where he developed skills in trade process. His two older brothers are in charge of production and logistics. This year Tiryakioğlu is hoping to increase exports to more than $500 million. 

Bob Fisher
Age: 61
Company: Gap 
Role: Chairman
Revenues: $16.2 billion
Country: United States
NOMINATED FOR ONE TO WATCH

When second generation Bob Fisher was elected chairman of global clothing retailer Gap in October he had already been part of the San Francisco- headquartered family business for three decades. Yet the Princeton graduate began his career closer to the bottom rung when he started in 1980, as a Gap store manager. The global retailer has since grown into an international business with revenues of $16.2 billion in 2014. 

Arthur T Demoulas
Age: 60
Company: Market Basket
Role: Chief executive
Revenues: $3.7 billion
Country: United States
NOMINATED FOR EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT, REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

After being ousted from his family’s New England supermarket chain, Arthur T Demoulas saw an unprecedented level of support from employees. Disgruntled staff refused to work without the beloved CEO, boycotting their jobs, shutting down the company’s distribution network and protesting outside stores. Eventually Demoulas was reinstated after reaching an agreement to buy the 50.5% stake of Market Basket owned by his cousin. He later paid out $70 million in bonuses to the employees who supported him. 

Henrietta Holsman Fore
Age: 66
Company: Holsman International 
Role: Chairwoman
Country: United States
NOMINATED FOR STEWARDSH, ADVOCACY

Henrietta Holsman Fore wants to see more women on corporate boards and in 2014 was behind the launch of a family business council at global organisation Women Corporate Directors. She
is chairwoman of her family’s manufacturing, consulting and investment company, Holsman International, based in Washington DC. She also sits on Exxon Mobil’s board, and served as a director of the United States Mint in the Department of Treasury. 

Abigail Johnson
Age: 53
Company: Fidelity Investments 
Role: President 
Revenues: $13.6 billion
Country: United States
NOMINATED FOR ONE TO WATCH

Third-generation Abigail
Johnson took the helm of Boston- based financial empire Fidelity Investments in October 2014, having worked at the family business for 26 years. She is now one of the highest-profile female family business heads. At one point, her father, Ned Johnson III, 84, reportedly considered non- family members to head the firm. The Johnson family owns a 49% stake in Fidelity and is today one of the largest mutual fund groups in the world.

Richard Kelley
Age: 81

Company: Outrigger Enterprises Group
Role: Chairman emeritus
Country: United States
NOMINATED FOR GOVERNANCE

Outrigger Enterprises Group became the largest hotel chain in Hawaii under the leadership of Richard Kelley, with 22 hotels. His parents opened their first hotel in 1947, just six years after Pearl Harbor, but also just ahead of a Hawaiian tourism boom. The company now has hotels across Asia Pacific. Kelley, a Harvard medical school graduate, regularly blogs on the company website, not just about tourism, but issues connected to the community. Chairmanship of the board passed to his son Charles in 2011, while his son-in-law David Carey is chief executive. 

Bill Marriott
Age: 82
Company: Marriott International  
Role: Chairman
Revenues: $13.8 billion 
Country: United States
NOMINATED FOR DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Mormon businessman Bill Marriott, who transformed his father’s restaurant business into a global lodging company, put aside his religious values in 2014 to launch a marketing campaign aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) inclusion. While the 82-year- old is no stranger to such promotions, having founded Marriott’s diversity programme in 1989, the Mormon religion remains opposed to same-sex relationships. Marriott has been vocal in the past about keeping his religious beliefs and business life apart. 

Carolyn Hursh
Age: 62
Company: James Richardson & Sons 
Role: Chairwoman
Country: Canada
NOMINATED FOR GROWTH

Fifth-generation chairwoman Carolyn Hursh has held the top jobs at the family’s agriculture and food industry company since 2000. The family has a 158-year history of investing during periods of economic turmoil, a tradition Hursh appears to be continuing. In December it was revealed the company plans to invest in oil, just as prices slump, through its Tundra Oil & Gas unit. Hursh is a member of the advisory board at the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise at the University of Alberta. 

Julie Smolyansky
Age: 40
Company: Lifeway Foods 
Role: Chief executive
Revenues: $103.2 million
Country: United States
NOMINATED FOR GROWTH

After the sudden death of her father in 2002, second-gen Julie Smolyansky became the youngest female chief executive of a publicly held firm at the age of 27. Since then she has grown Illinois-headquartered Lifeway, which makes yogurt-like kefir, from $12 million in gross sales to $109 million. The avid campaigner also holds a role on the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council and has produced movies on issues such as homelessness and sexual assault. 

Robert Unanue
Age: 60
Company: Goya Foods 
Role: President
Revenues: £1.3 billion
Country: United States
NOMINATED FOR GROWTH

Robert Unanue got an early start at his family’s business. At the age of 10 he packed olives at the company’s production line in Brooklyn, but eventually climbed to the role of president in 2004. Goya Foods, now headquartered in New Jersey, is today the largest Hispanic-owned business in the US, marketing traditional Latin foods to both Latinos and non-Latinos. It has also doubled in size since 2000, growing in line with the US’s increasing Hispanic population 

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