Robert Maersk Uggla is 33 while Henry Cheng is 65 years old, but both next-gens, from different parts of the world, have made headlines this week for taking up top roles in their family businesses.
Danish industrial conglomerate Moller-Maersk said on 29 February that fourth-generation Uggla has been appointed head of the family business’s tugboat subsidiary, Svitzer. Until now, Uggla was chief executive of the group’s tanker operations.
The son of the deputy chairman of the Copenhagen-based group, Uggla has often been looked at as the heir-apparent to the family business.
Uggla, who replaces non-family Jesper Lok as chief executive, joined Maersk in 2004, working in its container shipping division for a few years before becoming managing director of Brostrom, another group subsidiary.
Controlled by the Mc-Kinney Moller family – through a holding company and a foundation – the overall business is headed by Michael Pram Rasmussen, while Uggla’s mother, Ane, is vice-chairman of the company.
The group, which saw profits for 2011 fall by around 35%, operates in the shipping, energy, logistics, retail and manufacturing sectors.
Another family business, this time a Hong Kong-based property, retail and transport conglomerate, has also passed on the group leadership to the next generation.
New World Development said on 29 February that the company’s founder, 86-year-old Cheng Yu-tung, has stepped down from his positions as chairman and executive director of the group, and will be succeeded by his son Henry Cheng, who is 65.
Henry, who has been managing director at the family-controlled group since 1989, is Cheng’s oldest son, said a company statement.
The announcement comes as the group reported revenues for the six months ending 31 December 2011 – sales rose to HK$19.10 billion (€1.84 billion) from HK$15.07 billion for the same period in 2010.
Half-year profits in 2011 also got a boost to around HK$7.7 billion, from HK$6 billion the year before.
Besides Henry’s promotion, some third-gen family members have also taken on more responsibility. Son Adrian, who is executive director, will now also be the joint general manager, said the company, while daughter Sonia has been appointed an executive director at the firm.
The group is 42% owned by the Cheng family – patriarch Cheng is the fourth richest man in Hong Kong with a net worth of $15 billion (€11.2 billion), according to Forbes.