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Features

April 22, 2019

London-based fourth-generation family office J Leon Group has overhauled its giving in the last decade. Paddy Walker, managing director, spoke to Alexandra Newlove about how the diverse giving portfolio—from stopping killer robots to challenging hate speech—has brought the family closer

The 18 charities supported by J Leon may seem disparate at first glance. But drill down a little and you find they align under five key areas informed by the family’s history, passion, and expertise.

In the noughties, Paddy Walker and Tania Slowe, joint managing directors and husband-wife team, executed two buy-backs, taking the number of shareholders from 140 to fewer than 20.

It was this, Walker says, which spurred the family to reassess its giving, as the family felt closer and it became easier to communicate.

April 16, 2019

Merck had been able to continually anticipate changes in the macro-environment and adapt itself

There are several things that family businesses can learn from the history of Merck.

Cohesion and continuity are the benefits of adherence to family values and tradition. Merck values of hard work, empathy, and striving for excellence were imbibed and inculcated across generations mainly through practice.

April 15, 2019

A trio of international family business academics reveal how a modest German pharmacy has evolved into a successful 12-generation dynasty complete with its own family university

A remarkable 350 years of steady growth and transformation—that’s what the German pharmaceuticals and chemicals company Merck has achieved since it opened its first pharmacy in Darmstadt, near Frankfurt, in 1668.

April 8, 2019

Dame Stephanie Shirley brought the same trailblazing zeal to philanthropy over the past quarter century as she did as an IT industry pioneer. She tells James Beech what she learned from starting and finishing charitable giving

How a philanthropist ends their legacy is just as important as how they start it. Just ask Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley CH, who at 85 and after decades of venture philanthropy is spending out her charitable Shirley Foundation while ensuring the good work continues.

February 26, 2019

Succession is one of the most widely-discussed issues in the family business realm, but it is still relatively newsworthy when a daughter—rather than a son—takes the reins. Alexandra Newlove explores the upsurge in women inheriting ownership and management

For more than half a century, 80-year-old Marchese Piero Antinori has been a driving force behind one of the world’s oldest family businesses—Italy’s Marchesi Antinori.

But the 26-generation wine dynasty nearly slipped out of family control in the 1980s, partly due to the fact that the Marchese had three daughters and no sons, and thus assumed he had no successor.

February 25, 2019

Hospitality is second nature to Lydia Forte, the award-winning hotel heiress who is taking her family business into the 21st century, as she explains to James Beech

Only 24 hours before Lydia Forte graciously accepted the CampdenFB Top Family Business Rising Star award on stage at the European Families in Business Awards in Madrid, she had put the finishing touches to her family’s new £3 million ($3.9 million) refurbishment in Edinburgh.

“I was at our Balmoral Hotel (pictured) where we had the first day of opening to the public of our new restaurant, which has been a long time in the making,” explains Forte, the group director of food and beverage at Rocco Forte Hotels. 

February 19, 2019

How the Mexican billionaire Servitje family raised Grupo Bimbo into a multinational bakery product manufacturing giant that produces 13,000 products across 100 brands in 32 countries in less than 80 years.

FAMILY

From a humble family store to the world’s largest bakery company, the story of Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo almost has a Hollywood ring to it.

The company’s genesis can be traced back to the move from Spain to Mexico of Juan Servitje, who founded a bakery and retail outlet in his adopted home country in 1928.

February 18, 2019

The Mexican economy may long have had difficulties in achieving brisk growth, but that has not stopped the nation’s largest family businesses from forging ahead and, in some cases, becoming world leaders. Daniel Bardsley takes a look at this land of extremes and where families fit in

The family business dominates the Mexican economic landscape—an often-used motto in the country is “You trust your blood”—but few nations have such a gaping divide between the large and the small.

At one extreme, Mexico has millions of under-the-radar micro-businesses keen to avoid the attentions of the tax collectors, while at the other it plays host to corporate family-controlled giants that are at the global cutting edge.

February 12, 2019

You can’t choose your family, but you can choose who runs your business. Alexandra Newlove talks to a range of experts about bringing in outside help

In 2006, as Ford Motor Company headed towards a $12.7 billion loss, the worst in the company’s 103-year history, Bill Ford, chief executive and great-grandson of the legendary Henry Ford, realised he needed help.

In an email to staff, Ford introduced his new top man: former Boeing transformation master Alan Mulally, who over the next eight years executed a revitalisation which saw the automaker’s stock appreciate more than 1000% from recession lows, and Mulally remembered as one of the all-time great business leaders.

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