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FB Roundup: Richterich, Rinehart, and Zhao

Succession transition sets up Ricola for the future, Gina Rinehart’s family feud to stay private, and billionaire Zhao family embroiled in US college admissions scandal.

Succession transition sets up Ricola for the future

The principal of Swiss herbal product manufacturer Ricola has relinquished daily duties to a non-family director while his son steps up onto the board of directors.

Felix Richterich, 60, remained as chairman with a focus on strategy from 1 May after seven years as both chairman and chief executive. The grandson of founder Emil Richterich managed the Laufen-based company for 27 years.

Thomas Meier, 48, took over operational management as the new chief executive. He worked as chief executive of Franke Coffee Systems, a division of the Franke Group, and a member of the executive board of Franke.

Fourth-generation marketing director Raphael Richterich (pictured), 34, became the new vice chairman of the Ricola board. He replaced Eva Richterich, 45, Felix’s cousin, who started as the new chief marketing officer. 

“With these measures, succession both on the board of directors and in the management team has been carefully clarified in good time to ensure that the traditional family-run company can be steered successfully into the future,” Ricola said in a statement.

Founded in 1930, Ricola employs 400 staff and exports its herb specialties to more than 50 countries. Group sales amounted to CHF 325 million ($319 million) in 2018, up from CHF 307 million in 2016.

Gina Rinehart’s family feud to stay private

Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest person and chairwoman of family-owned Hancock Prospecting, is set to keep her long-running family dispute private after a High Court ruling in Canberra.

In October 2014, Rinehart’s children, John Hancock and Bianca Rinehart, began legal proceedings against their mother, accusing her of unlawfully transferring valuable mining assets away from a trust from which they benefit into another trust while acting as a trustee.

Hancock and Bianca asked the High Court to allow them to challenge the series of deeds they signed from 2003 to 2010 that reduced their interest in three Hancock mines from 49% to 24%.

The pair say they signed the deeds under duress and wanted the dispute to be heard in public.

However, the High Court ruled on Wednesday that Rinehart could enforce a clause in the deeds that stipulates that all grievances are to be settled by confidential arbitration.

The two family trusts were set up by Rinehart’s father, mining magnate Lang Hancock. Hancock bequeathed 51% of Hancock Prospecting to Rinehart, and 49% to her four children, John, Bianca, Hope and Ginia, held in the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust, with Rinehart as trustee until 2011.

Rinehart (pictured) succeeded as chairwoman of Hancock Prospecting after her father’s death in 1992, taking the crumbling mining empire and building it into a global powerhouse, making her fortune selling iron ore to China. The company posted revenue of $6 billion in 2018.

Billionaire Zhao family embroiled in US college admissions scandal

The family behind Chinese pharmaceutical giant Buchang Pharmaceuticals have admitted they paid $6.5 million to the man at the heart of the US college admissions scandal while their daughter applied to Stanford University.

US prosecutors allege the parents of Zhao Yusi, who was admitted to Stanford in March 2017, paid $6.5 million to college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer, who then attempted to get Zhao recruited to the Stanford sailing team by providing a fake list of accomplishments.

Last week, Zhao’s mother released a statement through her attorney, Vincent WC Law, claiming her daughter entered Stanford through legitimate channels.

She said the family believed the $6.5 million payment to Singer was a charitable gift to his Key Worldwide Foundation to fund scholarships, staff salaries and programs for needy students at Stanford.

“Mrs Zhao has come to realise she has been misled, her generosity has been taken advantage of, and her daughter has fallen victim to the scam,” Law said.

Unlike the 33 parents charged in the Massachusetts US attorney’s investigation so far, no member of the Zhao family has been accused of a crime.

Zhao’s father, Zhao Tao, is the president and co-founder of Shandong Buchang Pharmaceuticals, a drug company that specialises in traditional Chinese medicines and supplements. He started the company with his father in 1993, and it has become a family enterprise, with Zhao Tao’s brother, wife and daughter employed at the company. It posted a revenue of $1.9 billion in 2018.

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