Danish family business Danfoss has been awarded the top honour at this year's CampdenFB European Families in Business Awards in Rome.
Italy’s own Illy family, behind the eponymous coffee, was awarded with the top sustainable business award.
Held in association with Societe Generale Private Banking at a gala dinner at St Regis Hotel, the annual awards, now in their fourth year, recognise European family businesses that excel in stewardship and governance, as well as revenue growth and profits.
Patrick Folléa, Deputy Head of Societe Generale Private Banking said: “We are very proud to be associated with these Awards celebrating European family businesses. Indeed, all these family businesses play a vital role in the European economy by creating employment of course, but also by embodying values - fighting spirit, risk-taking, long-term vision, sense of responsibility, that are essential in our society.”
Receiving the award for top family business was the Clausen family, fourth-generation family members at Danfoss, their family's pumps, valves and seals manufacturing business. Founded in 1933, the family business has revenues of more than $4 billion.
Ana Botin, chairwoman of Spanish banking group Santander, was awarded the top family business leader award. Since taking over at the helm of the fourth-generation company, Botin has made an impressive mark on the business, making key changes at the c-suite level, reducing dividends, and putting a halt on acquisitions. She is now considered the most powerful woman in European banking.
The Illy family was on hand to accept the top sustainable business award, which recognises its unwavering commitment to “improve quality of life for all its stakeholders”. The family business had revenues of €373 million ($417 million) in 2014, and was founded the same year as Danfoss, 1933.
Hugo Peris, a next gen of Catalan family business Laboratorios Salvat, was the inaugural winner of the award’s newest category top next-gen entrepreneur, which recognises young family members making their way outside the main family business. Peris is behind Loop Therapeutics, an ophthalmic pharmaceutical company, spun out as an R&D arm from the family business. He fought off top competition from the likes of Oliver von Boch, a seventh-gen of the Villeroy & Boch who has started a very successful chain of lifestyle stores, as well as Danielle Ryan, whose father and grandfather were behind Ryanair, who has a successful fragrance range.
Catharina Prym was the winner of the top rising star, which recognises a family member succeeding within the family business. Prym has played an important role in salvaging the family’s ownership of the business, during a difficult stage in its history. She is one of the founders of FBN NxG Germany, and is currently leading the 15th-generation company in a major financing project.
Top non-family executive went to the incredible Jochen Zeitz, who is chairman of the sustainable development committee at Henri Pinault’s luxury holding company Kering.
The full list of winners are:
Top Family Business of the Year
Danfoss Group (Denmark)
Top Family Business Leader of the Year
Ana Botín – Santander (Spain)
Top Family Business Rising Star of the Year
Catharina Prym – Prym (Germany)
Top Next Gen Entrepreneur Award
Hugo Peris – Loop Therapeutics (Spain)
Top Non-Family Director of the Year
Jochen Zeitz – Kering (France)
Top Sustainable Family Business of the Year
Illy Caffe (Italy)