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FB Roundup: Uniqlo, Amway, and European family businesses

Uniqlo boss promotes sons to board, Amway hires first chief executive from outside the family, European family businesses embrace innovation to channel growth

Uniqlo boss promotes sons to board

The billionaire founder of Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo has announced his two sons will be promoted to the board of parent company Fast Retailing.

While delivering the company’s annual earnings report, Tadashi Yanai, chief executive of Fast Retailing, announced his sons, Kazumi and Koji Yanai, would join Fast Retailing’s board, but insisted neither would take over his post in the near future.

“I don’t want people to misunderstand, this is to maintain proper governance,” Tadashi said.

“I have no intention of bringing them into the top management at this time.”

The 69-year-old is credited with single-handedly building his father’s modest tailor shop into a global brand. There has been media speculation surrounding his plans for succession.

Yanai’s sons already serve as group senior vice presidents at Fast Retailing—Kazumi Yanai, 44, is global chairman of subsidiary Link Theory, while Koji Yanai, 41, oversees Uniqlo’s sales strategy.

They will assume their new positions as company directors following a shareholders meeting on 29 November.

Amway hires first chief executive from outside the family

Amway, the US multi-level marketing specialist company co-founded by Richard DeVos and Steve Van Andel, has appointed its first ever chief executive from outside the family.

The $8.6 billion direct selling company announced that Milind Pant, former president of Pizza Hut International, would take over the business on 2 January.

“This is a new position for Amway, a business that has been family run since its beginning in 1959,” Amway said in a statement.

Steve Van Andel, Amway chairman since 1995, said the decision to find a non-family chief executive was made after he and president Doug DeVos decided to step down from co-leading the company and spend more time with family.

“With the third generation being a little young yet as Doug and I transition out of the role of CEO, we needed to find a non-family chief executive,” Van Andel said.

The duo will move to the company’s board and serve as co-chairs to keep the company family-owned and family-run.

European family businesses embrace innovation to channel growth

European family businesses are confident about the future, but must innovate faster and attract top talent if they are to continue growing, according to the latest European Family Business Barometer.

Of the 1,576 continental family business executives surveyed by KPMG Enterprise and European Family Business across 26 countries, almost one quarter (23%) said they planned to expand and diversify their products to drive future growth. More than half (54%) said they plan to expand into new markets.

The report said to fuel this growth, the majority (86%) of respondents were investing in the core business. Some 83% were investing in innovation and 81% were investing in recruitment and training as a direct response to the two top challenges facing respondents—the skills shortage (53%) and the rising cost of labour (36%).

Olaf Leurs, head of KMPG Enterprise for the EMA region, said as the pace of change continued to accelerate, businesses were increasing their efforts to drive innovation.

“Family business are experts in long-term survival—and they know this depends on their ability to innovate and adapt to a rapidly changing business environment.”

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