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FB Roundup: Subway, CIR Group & Tata Sons

By Alexandra Newlove

Sister of Subway founder retires after 45 years

Suzanne Greco, the sister of Subway founder Fred DeLuca, has retired as chief executive after more than 45 years with the business.

Greco started with the company as a “sandwich artist” in 1973, and worked her way up the ranks, becoming chief executive in 2015 when her older brother died of cancer.

DeLuca founded Subway, the world’s largest restaurant chain, in 1965 to help fund his medical studies. Instead of becoming a doctor, he became an accidental sandwich tycoon, and his family still have control via their holding company Doctor’s Associates Inc. They do not release revenue figures.

The company plans to close 500 US shops this year, as it expands internationally. It is struggling in the US as its more millennial-friendly rivals stack up with a variety of natural and organic options.

Greco said in a statement: “Subway has been part of my life since I was 7 years old… I feel very good about the strategic moves we've made in the last three years, and I have confidence in the future of the company.”

Trevor Haynes, chief business development officer, will be interim chief executive while the company source Greco’s successor.

Monica Mondardini steps away from GEDI

One of Italy’s most prominent female business leaders, Monica Mondardini, has stepped down from one of her chief executive roles, making way for Laura Cioli.

Mondardini remains chief executive of family-controlled holding company CIR Group, but will no longer head subsidiary Gruppo GEDI, a publishing outfit. She will remain a director of GEDI.

She described her nine years at the helm “very difficult, because of the challenges that the sector has had to meet and still has to meet”.

However, she listed the group’s many achievements during her tenure, including the company’s positive economic results, investment in digital, elimination of €280 million ($335 million) of debt, and its carrying out of a large merger.

Chairman Marco De Benedetti, whose family controls CIR, thanked Mondardini for her “excellent work” and “long years of successes and results”.

“I understand her decision and I know I can continue to count on her even in a different role,” he said.

CIR turned over €2.8 billion ($3.4 billion) in 2017. Its main interests are media, automotive, and healthcare.

Mondardini won the Top Non-Family Director Award at the CampdenFB European Families in Business Awards in 2016. Read our interview here.

Tata and John Deere lease to subsistence farmers

Family conglomerate Tata Sons and tractor-maker John Deere have struck a deal in Africa which could help subsistence farmers start producing commercially.

Through an arrangement with Nigerian organisation Alluvial, which focuses on food security, John Deere and its distributor Tata will lease 300 tractors to as many as 100,000 farmers in the Niger Delta region.

Alluvial brings together thousands of small-scale farmers, giving them access to services and facilities they would not be able to access alone or through traditional networks. The new deal means tractors can be hired for as little as 20 minutes, lease prices are realistic, and there are finance options available.

Tata Sons is controlled by the Tata family via their foundation. Its operating companies turn over more than $100 billion annually.

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