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Europe's top 25 businesses and leaders 2013

The winners of the Families in Business Awards, in association with Societe Generale Private Banking, are soon to be announced, so take a look at the achievements of CampdenFB's shortlisted candidates.

The winners of the Families in Business Awards, in association with Societe Generale Private Banking, are soon to be announced, so take a look at the achievements of CampdenFB's shortlisted candidates.

The award ceremony will take place tomorrow, 11 June, at the Cercle National des Armées, in Paris.



Brembo Group
• FAMILY: Bombassei
• SECTOR: Automotive
• COUNTRY: Italy

Since Brembo was founded in Bergamo in 1961 by Emilio Bombassei and Italo Breda – along with current group president Alberto Bombassei, then aged 20 – it has supplied brakes to Aston Martin, Bugatti, Daimler, Ferrari, General Motors, Lamborghini and Porsche, and its products are sold in 70 countries. It has supplied brakes to Formula One cars since 1975.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011 seems to have given the 58% family-owned northern Italian manufacturer a boost: net profits in 2012 were 81% higher than the previous year at €77.8 million, on sales of €1.4 billion. It now has more than 6,000 employees in 15 different countries.

Broman Group
• FAMILY: Broman
• SECTOR: Automotive
• COUNTRY: Finland

When it began in 1965 this Finnish company was a seller of cars, but founder and current member of the board Väinö H Broman quickly realised that there was an opportunity to broaden the business to car parts.

Over the years Joensuu-based Broman, which is now in its second generation of family ownership with brothers Harri and Eero at the helm, has gained two brands. It bought car parts, tools and DIY-products company Motonet in 2007 and founded car parts firm AD Varaosamaailma. It also grew revenues from €126 million in 2009 to over €200 million in 2012 by increasing its number of outlets and expanding its product ranges.

• FAMILY: Bamford
• SECTOR: Construction and agricultural machinery

JCB began in 1945, when Joseph Cyril Bamford, father of current chairman Sir Anthony Bamford, made a farm trailer with a £1 welder from air-raid shelters. The Rocester, Staffordshire-based company is now a great British success story, with 22 factories in five continents and 10,000 employees. It recently produced its millionth machine.

Turnover has topped £2 billion (€2.3 billion) for the past three years, largely down to expansion in emerging markets. Business in Africa doubled last year, increased by 20% in the Americas and 12% in the Middle East. Last year it opened a new facility in Brazil, and a £62 million facility is due to open in Jaipur, India, in 2014.

• FAMILY: Mane
• SECTOR: Fragrance and flavour
• COUNTRY: France

If it’s true that you have to diversify to survive in the modern world then Mane, founded in 1871 and now in its fourth generation of family control, is a thoroughly modern firm. From its origins as a perfume distillery in Le Bar-sur-Loup, in southern France, Mane has branched out into 21 manufacturing sites and 37 research and development centres in 30 countries. It recently opened a fragrance studio in Mumbai, adding to others in New York and France.

Mane looks continuously to the future, investing 9% of its revenues in R&D. The strategy works. Sales increased from €480 million in 2010 to €530.1 million in 2011 – a 10% increase.

Scholz Group
• FAMILY: Scholz
• SECTOR: Scrap metal
• COUNTRY: Germany

Under chairman Berndt-Ulrich Scholz and his son Oliver Scholz, the fourth and fifth-generation family members, this German scrap metal firm is expanding rapidly. Polish and American acquisitions mean that the 100% family-owned firm, which was founded in 1872, now has 7,500 employees in 20 countries, operating steel mills, foundries, and smelting works. Revenues increased by an impressive 121% between 2009 and 2011.

Two other family members also sit on board, and its sustainable credentials mean the future looks bright. Scholz processes over 10 million tonnes of material each year, saving millions of tonnes of carbon that would be produced if those metals were mined.


Johan Andresen
• ROLE: Chairman
• COUNTRY: Norway

Johan Andresen has packed a lot in since he succeeded his father at the helm of the Tiedemanns Group in 1998. Among his big achievements was the reorganisation of the group’s corporate structure, setting up five distinct divisions, which include private equity, social entrepreneurship and alternative investments.

Under his tenure, the fifth-generation Norwegian company – which rebranded to Ferd in 2001 – grew into a sizable holding company with revenues of 9.2 billion Norwegian Kroner (€1.2 billion) in 2011. Andresen, who stepped down as the company’s chief executive in October, also created an executive board and opened the business up to greater financial scrutiny.

Anthony Bamford
• ROLE: Chairman

Anthony Bamford is the second-gen head of the firm that made the name JCB synonymous with mechanical diggers across the world. Rather than heading for business school, Bamford equipped himself for his role in the family business by completing an engineering apprenticeship.

He became chairman and managing director of JCB in 1975. In 1990, he was knighted for services to industry following the company’s impressive development. JCB had revenues of £2.7 billion in 2012 and celebrated the manufacturer of its one-millionth digger in 2013. Bamford has focused on building the business in emerging markets like Brazil, India and China to drive growth.

Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette
• ROLE: Chairwoman
• COMPANY: Sonepar
• COUNTRY: France

Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette has proven herself to be a top manager, dealmaker and proponent of the family business model. A trained lawyer, her experience in the rough and tumble legal world no doubt prepared her well for the top job at the family business.

Through her determination and management acumen, she has transformed Sonepar into a global leader in electrical equipment distribution. She has championed the family business model and promoted strong corporate governance procedures that have both kept family members happy, and brought in expertise from outside to build the company internationally, particularly in Asia and Latin America.

Markus Miele
• ROLE: Managing director
• COMPANY: Miele
• COUNTRY: Germany

The great-grandson of company founder Carl Miele, Markus Miele took the classic route into top German family-run businesses, working outside before joining the upmarket home appliance company, which is actually a requirement of all family members working at Miele. He joined the company in 1999, equipped with his experience and doctorate in economics, and became joint head with Reinhard Zinkann in 2002. Markus’ skill as a manager has ensured profitability has been maintained, despite tough markets in Europe. He’s also built upon Miele’s unique family-ownership structure, with two families – Miele and Zinkann – running the business since its launch 114 years ago.

Nayla Hayek
• ROLE: Chairwoman
• COMPANY: Swatch Group
• COUNTRY: Switzerland

Nayla Hayek officially joined the family business in 2007, having been on the board of directors since 1995. She has been chairwoman of the Swatch Group since 2010, taking the role after the death of her father, Nicolas Hayek, who founded the business in 1983. She works closely with her brother Nick, president of the executive group management board.

Apart from helping to run the world’s biggest watch company by sales, Hayek takes a big interest in the many brands the Swatch Group controls, taking over operational leadership of Tiffany Watches in 2008, as well as recently being appointed chief executive of luxury brand Harry Winston.


Emanuel Forster
• COMPANY: Forster Rohner
• COUNTRY: Switzerland

Emanuel Forster, 39, is a fourth-generation leader of the Swiss textile business, famed for the intricacy of its embroidered fabrics. According to legend, the company was the supplier of choice to the late great Christian Dior, who once said: “It is the material which inspires the couturiers.”

Forster joined the company in 2001 as UK sales director and became chief executive in 2007. He has since focused on implementing “lean” production principals in its three manufacturing sites in Switzerland, China and Romania, and plans to develop its lingerie, ready-to-wear clothing and technical textile business divisions, as well as continuing to produce ultra-luxury fabrics.

Morten Höegh
• ROLE: Chairman
• COUNTRY: Norway

Choosing to study ocean engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology followed by an MBA from Harvard Business School, Morten Höegh set himself well on course to join the family shipping business, Höegh LNG. Now chair of the business, Höegh spent several years with Morgan Stanley before joining the family firm in 2003.

He used his experience in investment banking to buy all of Höegh’s outstanding shares and delist the company. In addition to his role as chair, he is also director of subsidiary Höegh Autoliners. Now in its 40th year, the Norwegian business pioneered the transportation of liquefied gas when Höegh’s grandfather Leif Höegh established it in the early 1970s.

Giuseppe & Marco Lavazza
• ROLE: Vice-chairmen
• COMPANY: Lavazza
• COUNTRY: Italy

From a small shop set up in 1895 in Turin, Lavazza is today one of the world’s best-known coffee brands. Cousins Giuseppe (top picture) and Marco Lavazza, great-grandsons of company founder Luigi Lavazza, have played a big role in the success of the family business in recent years. The two fourth-gens oversaw, together with the third generation of the family, much of the company’s international growth.

Both are big believers in the family business model and have no intention of selling or listing, with the aim of maintaining the leading position in Italy and developing the business in the main international markets where Lavazza operates.

Karl-Johan Persson
• COUNTRY: Sweden

Karl-Johan Persson became chief executive of the Swedish fashion group Hennes & Mauritz in 2009 – a particularly difficult time for fashion retailers worldwide as much of the world economy entered a deep recession. Despite the inauspicious time to take control, Persson went on the offensive, successfully expanding the business in many new locations across the world.

Before joining the family business, Persson followed a classic reverse succession strategy, setting up an events business before selling it a few years later. He then gained experience as a member of the boards of H&M’s subsidiaries before taking over operational duties in 2005.

Thilo Wersborg
• ROLE: Managing Director
• COMPANY: Precitec Group
• COUNTRY: Germany

Second-gen Thilo Wersborg joined the Baden Baden-based family business after a stint working for an internet start-up in Silicon Valley. Wersborg followed the classic work experience formula for a German family business next-gen. He gained a PhD in human biology followed by employment with another business before starting at the family firm. It’s a tried and tested combination that ensures effective succession among German family business.

Now managing director at the laser engineering company that was set up in Baden-Baden in the early 1970s, Wersborg also sits on the next-gen committee of the Family Business Network.


Chris Cracknell
• CEO SINCE: 1996

Chris Cracknell epitomises loyalty in a family business. Beginning his career at the West Sussex-based facilities management group as a window cleaner in 1977, Cracknell has been chief executive since 1996.

He has diversified the OCS Group into new areas of facilities management and successfully built up the businesses outside of the UK. Cracknell is also a big proponent of the family business model, believing in the importance of long-term planning. He thinks being a family firm helped the business cope with the downturn in the UK economy, but also reckons that family businesses need to bring in senior professionals to prosper.

Michele Norsa
• CEO SINCE: 2006
• COMPANY: Ferragamo Group
• COUNTRY: Italy

The first non-family chief executive to manage Ferragamo, Michele Norsa was crucial in transforming the Florence-based luxury goods group into one of the world’s most famous fashion brands.

Since he took the top position in 2006, he has overseen very strong growth, with revenues increasing by 86% to €1.2 billion in the three-year period to the end of 2012. The 64-year-old – who had previously worked at fashion houses Valentino and Sergio Tacchini – also managed Ferragamo’s successful listing on the Milan Stock Exchange in 2011, which raised more than €340 million for expansion but only marginally diluted the family ownership.

Gian Giacomo Ferraris
• CEO SINCE: 2009
• COMPANY: Versace Group
• COUNTRY: Italy

The former school teacher Gian Giacomo Ferraris has completely transformed the fortunes of the famous Milan-based couture brand. With a degree in chemical engineering, Ferraris held managerial positions at Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci and Jil Sander before becoming chief executive of the Versace Group in 2009.

In just a few years, he has completely restructured the struggling family business, which was founded by the late Gianni Versace in 1978. He cut costs and outsourced operations to reduce debt, but also consolidated manufacturing and expanded the fashion firm’s business in Asia. It worked, with Versace returning to profit in 2011 after years of losses.

Jean-Marie Laborde
• CEO SINCE: 2004
• COMPANY: Rémy Cointreau
• COUNTRY: France

Jean-Marie Laborde became chief executive of Rémy Cointreau in 2004 with 25 years’ experience in the drinks industry already under his belt. He had previously worked in the senior management of fellow family drinks business Pernod Ricard, as well as a stint as chairman of champagne house Moët & Chandon – part of LVMH.

Since joining the Hériard Dubreuil family’s business he has focused on streamlining the distribution chain, as well as moving the entire brand portfolio, which includes the Mount Gay rum, into the premium market. The company now has annual revenues of more than €1 billion and had double-digit growth for the last two years.

Jürgen Otto
• CEO SINCE: 2006
• COMPANY: Brose Group
• COUNTRY: Germany

Jürgen Otto began his career with automotive parts supplier Brose Group in 1990 as a logistics planner, before going on to run its factories in various parts of Germany. From 2002 to 2005 he led the successful development of the seat adjuster business before his appointment as chief executive of the entire Brose Group in 2006.

Under Otto’s guidance, Brose purchased Continental/Siemans VDO’s electronic motor business in 2008. This expanded Brose’s range of products and established the brand as one of the biggest suppliers of multidisciplinary engineering systems for vehicle bodies and interiors. Brose Group employs more than 20,000 staff and turned over €4.5 billion in 2012.


• FAMILY: Courtins-Clarins
• SECTOR: Skincare and beauty
• COUNTRY: France

Clarins has a history of sustainable practice that is longer than most of its counterparts – it first answered the call of activists to protect the rainforest in 1985 by joining the Pro Natura environmental organisation on its mission to protect biodiversity in Brazil.

Clarins, which was founded in 1954, has also participated in similar projects across the globe, notably in Madagascar and the Alps. It stopped animal testing in 1987, the first French company to do so, and has long since implemented a strategy to reduce its carbon emissions and waste. It is a partner in Solar Impulse – a project to develop the world’s first solar-powered aircraft.

Fazer Group
• FAMILY: Fazer
• SECTOR: Confectionary
• COUNTRY: Finland

Fazer has taken a rigorous approach to making sure each area of its business operations is sustainable. This Helsinki-based confectionery and baked goods company has analysed its supply, manufacture and distribution chain to reduce its energy consumption, landfill waste, sewage discharge and water consumption.

This is no small task for a company with production facilities in eight countries, and which exports to a further 40. In 2012, for the first time, 100% of its energy for its Finnish operations came from renewable sources. It is also working on developing low-impact products for different times of the year made from seasonal ingredients.

Lego Group
• FAMILY: Kirk Kristiansen
• SECTOR: Toys
• COUNTRY: Denmark

As a company dedicated to children’s play, Lego Group states it is committed to caring for the world the next generation will inherit. Since 2006, the business has released annual sustainability reports and has signed up to the principles of the UN Global Compact, which encourages companies to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies.

Among its environmental initiatives, a wind farm is currently under development to help the company meet its commitment to run on 100% renewable energy by 2020. It is also trying to establish Billund – its hometown – as a “Capital of Children” by building its own Lego-themed school.

Vestergaard Frandsen
• FAMILY: Vestergaard Frandsen
• SECTOR: Public health
• COUNTRY: Switzerland/Denmark

These days many family businesses practice sustainable growth policies, but few have “doing good” as their core money-making objective. Vestergaard Frandsen is the exception. It manufactures public health tools like insecticidal tents for people in developing countries.

Based in Switzerland, although the original business is Danish, the modern Vestergaard Frandsen is the creation of third-gen Mikkel, who transformed his father’s business from a work clothes manufacturer to its current incarnation. Vestergaard Frandsen has not only done much to relieve the suffering of many people in the developing world, but it also offers an inspiring example to future generations.

Zambon Group
• FAMILY: Zambon
• SECTOR: Pharmaceuticals
• COUNTRY: Italy

Sustainability is a particularly sensitive issue for pharmaceutical companies, given the chemicals they use in research and production. Zambon, one of Italy’s biggest pharmaceutical groups, has done a lot in recent years to improve its sustainability credentials, adopting a code of conduct, which was approved by the shareholders, to define the company’s values when it comes to environment, employees and transparency. The three sisters who manage the 107-year-old family business, Elena, Margherita and Chiara, have also set up the Zoé foundation, which carries out research, and organises conferences and training sessions on health and wellbeing for the wider community.


Puig family
• SECTOR: Fashion & fragrance
• COUNTRY: Spain

This third-generation fashion and fragrance brand represents a truly exemplary case of family business stewardship, where the transfer to each successive generation has been handled with exceptional professionalism. This has in turn led to strong growth at the Barcelona-based company, which controls a number of iconic brands like Paco Rabanne, Nina Ricci and Carolina Herrera. Puig also continues to be very profitable, despite the fallout from the European economic crisis. Now under the leadership of Marc Puig (pictured), the business continues to put the family at the heart of what it does. Puig is a worthy winner of CampdenFB’s inaugural lifetime achievement award. 

Images copyrighted to Corbis/ Press Association/ Alessandra Catavero / Associated Press/ Mattias Barda/ Magalie Girardin/ Getty/ Brose/ Sophie Sandrin/ Vestergaard Frandsen/ Georgina Goodwin   

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