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Excellence in Europe

UK retail family business Pentland Group has been awarded the top honour at the 2014 CampdenFB European Families in Business Awards in Barcelona.

Spain's own Koplowitz family was awarded with the lifetime achievement award.

Held in association with Societe Generale Private Banking at a gala dinner at El Palace Hotel, the annual awards, now in their third year, recognised European family businesses that excelled in stewardship and governance, as well as revenue growth and profits.

Click here to see the full list of winners.

Here we showcase the shortlisted family businesses and their leaders, who represent the leading lights in Europe. 



Campari Group 


Since Gaspare Campari first created his mid-proof red aperitif – nicknamed Red Passion – back in 1860, the company has become the world’s sixth largest drinks player. It now controls 50 brands, including Wild Turkey and Skyy Vodka, in over 190 countries. Chairman Luca Garavoglia (pictured) oversaw sales of €289 million in the first quarter of 2014, while revenue for 2013 exceeded €1.52 billion. The Garavoglia family took over from the Camparis in 1982, when Garavoglia’s father Domenico, a Campari executive, received it from the company’s last living heir. The company made a €104 million takeover this year of Fratelli Averna, the Sicilian producer of grappa and liqueurs, making Campari the leading supplier of Italian liqueurs. 

Faiveley Transport


Faiveley Transport has been supplying on-board railway systems for 95 years to the world’s rail networks. Most recently, the company landed a €13 million contract with Hong Kong’s rail operator MTRC to upgrade door systems on 90 trains. Sales in 2012/13 hit €988 million, while its presence in North America has grown by 43% in the last three years. The company now employs around 5,400 people across 52 sites in 26 countries. Second-generation family member, François Faiveley, serves as vice chairman of the supervisory board and managing director, with next-generation member Erwan Faiveley sitting on the management board.



Brothers Isak (pictured) and Nahman Andic have grown Mango into a well-known international fashion empire. From opening their first store in Barcelona in 1984, they quickly turned it into a global ‘fast fashion’ force which now numbers 2,415 stores worldwide. Mango employs more than 11,200 staff in 107 countries and achieved €1.69 billion in revenue in 2012. This represents an increased turnover of 20%. Online sales increased by a 93% in 2012 compared to 2011 to the tune of €70 million. The Andic brothers have a 10-year plan in place to match the revenue of its biggest Spanish competitor, Zara. Isak’s son, Jonathan, is expected to eventually succeed his father.

Pentland Group  

Under Stephen Rubin and his son Andy (pictured) – second- and third-generation family members – this British sports brand firm has become a global powerhouse. Pentland brands include the likes of Speedo, Lacoste and Berghaus, having started out with Reebok in 1981. It reverted to private ownership in 1999, achieving global annual sales of €2.2 billion in 2013. The group started life in 1932 at the hands of Minnie and Berko Rubin, with little more than €120 base capital and has since won five Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. In 2014, it was named as one of the UK’s top 10 best workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute.


Villeroy & Boch Group


Villeroy & Boch traces its roots back to 1748, when François Boch set up a pottery company with his three sons in a tiny French village. Fast forward 266 years and the group has 15 production sites in Europe, Mexico and Thailand, and representation in over 125 countries. Wendelin von Boch (pictured), eighth-generation family member, took his post as chairman at this ceramics manufacturing company in 2009. Revenue in 2013 reached €745 million, with international sales accounting for 71%. Its bathroom and wellness division won a Red Dot Award in April for product design – marking the company’s fourth win in a row.



Nicolas Boël


Nicolas Boël has an impressive track record in heavy industry, working in steel and aluminium production before joining the family business in 1999. The fifth-generation leader took his post as chairman in 2012, helping the Belgian chemicals company reach €10.4 billion in revenue in 2013, with the European Union accounting for 42% of sales. Alongside Solvay’s non-family chief executive Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Boël oversaw the sale of the company’s pharmaceuticals division and the integration of French chemicals company Rhodia in 2012. He helped drive through a radical transformation in the business in 2013, as Solvay celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Vincent Bolloré


Under the leadership of sixth-generation Vincent Bolloré, the Bolloré Group has become one of the world’s 500 largest companies. In 2013, he oversaw the successful listing of the group’s battery business, Blue Solution, on the Paris Stock Exchange, and the launch of the Bolloré Bluecar for Paris’ electric car-sharing service. The service will be repeated in London with about 100 Bluecars ready for the launch in 2015, with a view to increase this number to 3,000. A similar service, BlueIndy, has been announced in Indianapolis, Indiana. Last year Bolloré hinted at plans to prime seventh-generation Yannick to take the helm at the company.

Antonio and Emma Marcegaglia 


Antonio and Emma Marcegaglia took their posts as co-chief executives at the family business, Marcegaglia, last year, when their father Steno passed away. Antonio was named chairman of the board, while Emma took the role of vice chairman. In turn, Emma was named chairman of the family’s holding company Marfin, while her brother became vice chairman. The group is a global leader in the steel-processing sector, with a yearly output of over five million tonnes. The group generated turnover exceeding €4 billion in 2012, the last time Marcegaglia published figures. Last year she was elected president of Business Europe, the region’s largest lobby. 

Teresa Mokrysz


Teresa Mokrysz stumbled into the instant cappuccino business in 1987, when a stranger on a plane offered the then civil servant a job selling coffee creamers. She joined forces with her husband, who ran a third-generation biscuit business, re-launched it as Mokate and began selling instant cappuccino. A prime time TV advertising campaign explaining how to make cappuccino was the catalyst for a business that now boasts more than 2,000 employees. Revenues stood at PLN700 million (€167 million) in 2012, the last time Mokate disclosed figures. It has since expanded into tea, coffee mixes, chocolate and energy drinks, generating more than more than 50% of its income from exports.

Juan Roig  


Juan Roig has turned a small regional supermarket chain started by his father into one of the largest in Spain, with annual revenues of €19.4 billion in 2013. He implemented a revolutionary management model, Total Quality, which dealt with the whole chain of relationships found in a retailer like Mercadona and where customers are known as “The Boss”. In the past year he’s put particular focus into the Mercadona Sustainable Agri-Food Chain to ensure the sustainability of its supply chain. Roig has also set up the Lanzadera Project, a €3 million per annum programme to fund young entrepreneurs in Valencia.



Delphine Arnault  

During her decade at Dior, Delphine Arnault, 39, was credited with overseeing one of the label’s most successful periods. She will now focus on repositioning Louis Vuitton within the luxury market, having last year swapped her role as managing director at Dior to head the luxury house famed for its monogrammed leather goods. She is one of two heirs to Louis Vuitton’s parent, the €28 billion-a-year conglomerate LVMH, and is often tipped as the favourite to one day succeed her father, Bernard, at the helm. The past year has seen her spearhead the inaugural LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize, which aims to spot the next Marc Jacobs or Nicolas Ghesquière.



Yannick Bolloré 


Earlier this year, Yannick Bolloré, 34, was appointed global chief executive of global advertising agency Havas, part of the family’s multi-billion euro empire. Bolloré set up a film company when he was in his 20s and ran three French newspapers for the group before being appointed vice president of Havas in 2011. His father, Vincent, has already hinted at plans for his son to one day take the reigns at the family holding company Bolloré Group, which had a turnover of €10.2 million in 2012. As a nod to his accomplishments, Bolloré made the list for the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader in 2008. If he succeeds his father he will become the seventh generation to helm Bolloré Group.

Enrico Falck 


Enrico Falck, 39, joined the Falck Group in 2001, beginning in team project finance for waste-to-energy projects and served as project developer for biogas projects in Falck Renewables. Today he is chairman of the industrial group. Revenue for Falck for the quarter ending March 2014 reached €76.1 million. Last year Falck oversaw a deal giving the group majority shares in Australian company HES, which provides medical emergency response and related services to the oil, gas, and mining industries in remote parts of Australia. The Milan-based group is now active in over 40 countries. 


Daniel and Andreas Sennheiser


The Sennheiser Group unanimously voted to appoint third-generation Sennheisers Andreas and Daniel as co-chief executives last year – testament to their success on the executive management board. Their grandfather revolutionised the headphone industry inventing the world’s first open headphones in 1968. The brothers oversaw the launch of premium in-ear headphones IE 800 in India this year, as well as the company’s partnership with Phonebloks, a modular phone that reduces waste and allows users to personalise their phone. Under the partnership, modular Sennheiser parts could be added to the phone, improving sound quality without the consumer having to purchase an entirely new gadget. 



Pablo Isla Álvarez De Tejera

Pablo Isla is the highest paid chairman in Spain; that’s what happens when you run the world’s largest fashion retailer. Inditex has a turnover of €16.7 billion (2013) and is the powerhouse behind brands such as Zara, Bershka and Massimo Dutti. Isla took over operations in 2011, when founder Amancio Ortega announced his soft retirement. In 2013, he oversaw 5% sales growth, and is planning a programme to rollout 450-500 new stores, as well as the launch of an online capability in two new markets, Mexico and South Korea. 

Peter Armitage


Peter Armitage has been with OCS since 1979, and became managing director of OCS International in 2001. During that time the company transformed from a largely UK-based business to a group operating in 40 different countries. He took over as chairman in 2005 and this year replaced Ross Warburton, fifth-generation leader of the UK baked goods company Warburtons, as chairman for the UK-based Institute for Family Business. Armitage has overseen a five-year plan to expand revenues to £1.2 billion (€1.48 billion), which led to the OCS Group winning a UK family business award in 2012.

Annika Falkengren 


Annika Falkengren started out at Nordic bank SEB as a summer intern in a Stockholm branch. She liked it so much she stayed three years, and applied for the trainee programme as soon as she finished university. Now she is the CEO, taking the reins in late 2005. 

Falkengren is one of the few pre-crisis banking bosses still standing, after a rapid merry-go-round since 2008 across the sector. Share prices at SEB are edging back to the level they were after Falkengren took over, while, on average, other Europe banks are only 40% of the way there. In 2011, Falkengren joined the supervisory board of Volkswagen and Munich Re.

Anna Stewart


Anna Stewart joined Laing as a trainee in 1982, where she worked her way up through a number of senior management roles to commercial director. When R O’Rourke and Son acquired Laing Construction in 2001, she too became part of the group. Last year she took the reins as group CEO, taking over from Ray O’Rourke. Stewart has overseen huge growth at the international construction company with 2013 revenue topping €5.4 billion, while pre-tax profits rose 144% to €70.4 million. Stewart has also championed workplace diversity by pledging that women will account for 30% of new recruits on its apprenticeship and cadet programme by 2016.

Felix Sulzberger 


Felix Sulzberger was appointed CEO in 2001 in the wake of a record loss for Calida by the Kellenberger family and has guided the luxury lingerie and clothing company back from the brink. Following his appointment, he oversaw the streamlining of company structure and sale of sewing plants in Switzerland and India. By 2003 the company was back in profit. In 2005 the group acquired French lingerie brand Aubade and by 2013 both brands were contributing to group growth. Sales were up 3.9% in the past twelve months compared to 2012, hitting €172.6 million. Last year the group also increased its stake in French outdoor clothing company Lafuma, owner of Millet, Eider and Oxbow, from 15.2% to almost 60%.




In 2009, Acciona refocused its energies towards the development, production and management of renewables, water and infrastructure with minimal environmental impact. Since 2010, the company has released annual sustainability reports and set up a number of wind farms across the globe. Wind farm production hasn’t slowed, with two more penned for construction later this year in Nuevo Léon, Mexico. This year the company signed a deal to supply green electricity to Spanish airport operator Aena. This deal will cover all-but-two Spanish mainland airports. As part of Acciona’s commitment to sustainability, it endorsed the Trillion Tonne Communiqué, which calls for a rapid and focussed response to the threat posed by global carbon emissions. 

Axel Johnson Group 


The Axel Johnson Group is a fourth-generation global conglomerate with sustainable practice at its core. Building sustainable businesses that reinvest in the communities in which they operate is key, so the group set out a seven-point plan to ensure all its companies work with sustainability systematically. This includes having a specific person responsible for sustainability within each company. In 1993, the group CEO Antonia Ax:son Johnson (pictured) established a foundation for sustainable development. The Antonia Ax:son Johnson Foundation aims to promote scientific research within sustainable development and facilitate its practical application throughout the corporate world. 



BMW is well known for its approach to sustainability. In 1973 it became the first company in the automotive industry to appoint an environmental officer. Today, production plants are independently certified according to environmental protection standard ISO 14001, and in 2001 the group committed itself to the UN Global Compact Cleaner Production Declaration. 

In 2012, for the eighth consecutive year, BMW was named the world’s most sustainable automotive company by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The group is an active member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 

Ritter Sport 

Ritter Sport has been supporting local cocoa farmers in Nicaragua for 25 years with the private Cacaonica Initiative. The aim of the project is to improve the living conditions for local people and protect natural resources. To ensure a greater influence in the sustainability of its cocoa, Ritter Sport purchased around 2,000 hectares of land in 2012 to set up its own plantation, El Cacao. The aim is to supply sustainably cultivated cocoa, while providing fair wages and safe working conditions for all employees. In 2013, 10% of the cocoa used by the chocolate-maker was UTZ Certified – one of the world’s largest sustainability programmes for coffee, tea and chocolate – with this figure set to rise to 15% this year. 



‘A general concern for the natural and social environment’ is cited as one of Solaris’ key concerns, and one of its main business objectives is minimising the impact of public transport vehicles on the environment. Solaris was the first European manufacturer to offer hybrid buses, and its latest development is 100% electric buses, which are constantly being developed to provide a silent and emission-free solution. This year Solaris will deliver its Urbino 12 buses to Milan in a €22 million contract with Azienda Trasporti Milanese. 



Koplowitz Family


FCC is one of the 25 biggest companies listed on the Spanish stock exchange. This third-generation construction company represents an exemplar case of family business stewardship. Esther Koplowitz (pictured) and her younger sister Alicia inherited the company in 1962 upon the death of their father, Ernesto, with non-family executives running the company until they took a more active role in 1988. The sisters ran the group together until 1997, when Esther bought her younger sister out, becoming the majority owner of the €6.7 billion (2013 revenue) company. 

Ernesto started CYCSA in the 1950s, after making his way to Spain following the Nazi persecution of the Jews in Silesia, Poland. The company merged with FOCSA, dating back to 1900, in 1992 and became the FCC we know today, employing over 90,000 people worldwide. 

In 2012 the company acquired 100% of Austrian construction group Alpine, and the following year Koplowitz handed her daughter Esther Alcocer the reigns at FCC. Esther Alcocer is now chairman of the board; her mother Esther is vice chair. The Koplowitz family is a worthy winner of CampdenFB’s lifetime achievement award.

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