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Shortlist announced for the European Families in Business Awards 2018

The annual European Families in Business Awards is a golden opportunity to see great examples of family businesses adapting and leading in their respective industries, while preserving proud traditions

Automation, disruption, and the rise of artificial intelligence—all these 21st century technology trends can be seen as both challenges to existing family businesses and opportunities. Two vital ingredients to help business families prosper in the future and use these trends to their advantage are adaptation and leadership.

The annual European Families in Business Awards is a golden opportunity to see great examples of family businesses adapting and leading in their respective industries, while preserving proud traditions.

From radical innovation labs, both within and outside the family enterprise, to cutting-edge payments and digital systems, and leading sustainability initiatives, family businesses are making the most of these advances.

To help celebrate these future-focused families, CampdenFB, in association with Societe Generale Private Banking, is proud to be hosting this prestigious awards ceremony for the seventh occasion.

The past six years have taken us across the continent from Amsterdam, to Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Prague, and now Madrid. So it is exciting to be back in Spain—the home of so many great family enterprises.

Selecting a winner from many worthy candidates in six categories each year is always a tough task for the judges. Candidates for Top Family Business this year include two local contenders, automotive specialists Grupo Antolin and hoteliers, Meliá Hotels; Swiss food innovators Ricola; Britain’s oldest wine and spirits merchant; and Ireland’s impressive Musgrave Group.

A final thanks to this year’s returning panel of judges: Harri Broman, Denise Kenyon-Rouvinez, Alfredo de Massis, and Andy Rubin, who have given their valuable time to decide on a fascinating, and diverse, range of businesses from 10 different countries.

Enjoy toasting Europe’s best-in-class family businesses!

Top Family Business 

Top Family Business Leader

Top Family Business Rising Star

Top Next-Generation Entrepreneur

Top Non-Family Director

Top Sustainable Family Business

 Top Family Business 

Berry Bros & RuddBerry Bros & Rudd

FAMILIES       Berry and Rudd 

SECTOR          Wine and spirits

COUNTRY       United Kingdom

Britain’s original wine and spirits merchant and the ninth oldest private family business in the UK was founded in 1698. Over the past two years, Berry Bros & Rudd has succeeded in refocusing the company’s core priorities under a new chief executive, Dan Jago, and now new chair, Lizzy Rudd, a third generation Rudd family member. The company reported a turnover of £171 million ($213 million) in the year to 31 March 2017, the strongest sales performance for the family owned business since 2011.


Ph: - Image for illustrative purposes onlyGrupo Antolin

FAMILY           Antolin 

SECTOR          Automotive

COUNTRY       Spain

Still 100% owned by the founding Antolin family, who are now in the second and third generations, Grupo Antolin lists its family ownership as one of its key strengths, “which ensures a decision-making with a long-term vision”. In a traditionally male-dominated industry, it has progressive gender diversity—three of its seven board members are women—which powers impressive financial performance. It posted record sales of €5 billion ($6 billion) in 2017, up 10% from a year ago, all after starting as a mechanics garage specialising in vehicle and agriculture machinery repairs in Burgos, Spain.


Meliá Hotels International, Gran Melia Palacio DeIsora, Tenerife

Meliá Hotels International

FAMILY           Escarrer  

SECTOR          Hotels

COUNTRY       Spain

The leading hotel group in Spain and the third-largest in Europe, Meliá Hotels now provides more than 370 hotels in 43 countries on four continents. Digital strategy has generated a 21% improvement in direct online sales through (up to €520 million) in 2017, led by second-generation chairman Gabriel Escarrer Jaume. This digital change has been applied not only to sales, but also to many key management processes, and increasingly, to improving the customer experience in hotels. In 2017 it won Global Traveler’s Best Luxury Leisure Hotel Group in the World.


Image for illustrative purposes onlyMusgrave Group

FAMILY           Musgrave 

SECTOR          Food

COUNTRY       Ireland

When a family business can lay claim to feeding one in every three Irish consumers, it must be doing something right. But when it is also leading with cutting-edge governance structures, this marks them out as special. The Musgrave Group is an exemplar of the connection between excellent family business governance and commercial success. It is Ireland’s market leading grocery retailer, and the largest wholesale food supplier, as well as being highly innovative. ‘Frank & Honest’ was launched two years ago as a new brand of artisan coffee and it is the first Irish retailer selling directly to China via Alibaba Group Partnership.



FAMILY           Richterich  

SECTOR          Herbal remedies

COUNTRY       Switzerland  

When company founder Emil Richterich started producing his distinctive herbal cough drops in 1940 he would be proud that almost 80 years later the company would still be under family ownership. Today, executive board president and third-generation family member Felix Richterich directs the fortunes of the company with Raphael Richterich, 33, a representative of the younger generation, joining the executive board in early 2017. Ricola’s recipe has been a success with Ricola posting revenues of CHF325 million ($333 million) in 2017, a 6% annual increase.


Vandersanden Group

FAMILY           Vandersanden  

SECTOR          Building materials

COUNTRY       Belgium

The largest brick-producing family business in Europe, with two production sites in Belgium and two in the Netherlands, Vandersanden Group makes almost a million bricks per day, selling about 60 million pavers a year. The company is environmentally conscious—between 1995 and 2001 it replaced its first two factories in Spouwen with a second large and ultra-modern factory. Within the Vandersanden Group, there is also a good balance between family and external management. The business has a comprehensive and well-structured family charter.

 Top Family Business Leader 

Sophie BellonSophie Bellon

ROLE               Chairwoman 

COMPANY      Sodexo

COUNTRY       France

Bellon has been chairwoman of the multinational food services and facilities management company Sodexo since 2016 after she was nominated to succeed by her father and founder Pierre Bellon. She has served on the L’Oréal Group board since 2015. In 2013, Sodexo entrusted her with research, development and innovation. In 2017, the firm earned €21 billion ($25.2 billion), up from €19 billion in 2016 and consistently up from 2014. Sodexo has won awards for its gender equality policies. It agreed a global partnership deal with Huawei in January 2018, the latest major Chinese contract for a French blue-chip company signed during President Macron’s visit to China.


Gabriel Escarrer JaumeGabriel Escarrer Jaume

ROLE               Executive vice president and chief executive 

COMPANY      Meliá Hotels International

COUNTRY       Spain

In 1996, the next-generation Wharton School graduate took part in the successful IPO of Meliá Hotels International, founded by his father, Gabriel Escarrer Juliá. A decade later, after 60 years at the helm of Spain’s leading hotel group, its founder became non-executive chairman, transferring his executive powers to Gabriel with the unanimous support of the board. Gabriel is credited with leading a strong surge in company growth and renewal, especially after the Global Financial Crisis, and for a major technological transformation at the firm. Meliá posted revenues of €1.88 billion ($2.26 billion) in 2017 with net profits leaping 28% to €129 million.


Matthieu LeclercqMatthieu Leclercq

ROLE               Chairman 

COMPANY      Decathlon

COUNTRY       France

Leclercq is the son of Decathlon founder Michel Leclercq who opened his first sporting goods store in 1976. Matthieu transformed the business and revenues have grown in double digits over the past three years. Mathieu has served 19 cumulative years on boards, mainly as chairmen of family businesses. As such, he has had significant experience of managing generational challenges and driving change in a family business context and is a popular conference speaker. Decathlon operates in 39 countries, with 1,362 points of sale and 80,000 employees, and grew 11% with revenues of €11 billion ($13.2 billion) in 2017.


Martine Reynaers - Ph. © Reynaers AluminiumMartine and Karin Reynaers

ROLE               Chief executive, facility and mobility director 

COMPANY      Reynaers Aluminium

COUNTRY       Belgium

Sisters Martine and Karin Reynaers took their late founding father’s business into one of the world’s key suppliers of aluminium systems for windows and doors. The breakthrough came in 1978 when Reynaers started developing the thermal break profile series Thermo System. Expansion followed, in China in 1995, then rapidly from 2004, beginning with Reynaers Middle East in Bahrain. Reynaers Aluminium, incorporating its domestic division Reynaers at Home, employs 1,700 people, has annual revenues of €360 million ($432 million) and operates in 40 countries. Martine was elected Manager of the Year in Belgium in 2004 and both steward their third generation of family members in the business.


Alberto Vacchi - Ph. ROPIAlberto Vacchi

ROLE               Chairman and chief executive 

COMPANY      The IMA Group

COUNTRY       Italy

The Vacchi family bought 52% of Industria Macchine Automatiche (IMA), a designer and manufacturer of automatic machines for the processing, in 1963. Alberto Vacchi, son of honorary chairman Marco Vacchi, was appointed managing director of IMA Group in 1996 and chairman since 2007, while also serving as chairman on boards inside and outside the group. In 2017, he was elected president of Confindustria Emilia for the first two years. Revenue for 2017 was €1.4 billion ($1.68 billion), up from €1.3 billion in 2016.

 Top Family Business Rising Star 

Verena BahlsenVerena Bahlsen

ROLE               Co-founder 


COUNTRY       Germany

A fourth-generation member of German biscuit manufacturer Bahlsen, Verena co-founded its innovation vehicle HERMANN’S, naming the unit after her great grandfather. With HERMANN’S, she aims to connect new innovators and traditional food companies to form a collaborative ecosystem, and together build practical innovation projects. It provides an all-day restaurant, event location, test kitchen, and film studio which experiments with the future of food. It aims to eventually provide consultancy services to different elements of the food industry about future trends within and outside of Bahlsen.


James CottinghamJames Cottingham

ROLE               Senior vehicles acquisition specialist 

COMPANY      DK Engineering

COUNTRY       United Kingdom

Whether it be promoting DK Engineering through racing, and rallies, using his engineering expertise or introducing digital innovations, 33-year-old James Cottingham has a lot of fun at his family’s second-generation Ferrari specialist. He has helped to develop a number of side projects that today play an important role in the business. One project was DK’s website, which serves as a powerful tool for client acquisition and sales, the other was social media. Each video on its YouTube channel is viewed thousands of times and its Instagram account (run by James) has more than 41,000 followers.


Lydia Forte - Ph: © Rocco Forte HotelsLydia Forte

ROLE               Restaurant and bar development manager 

COMPANY      Rocco Forte Hotels

COUNTRY       United Kingdom

Third-generation Lydia Forte is restaurant and bar development manager at Rocco Forte Hotels where she is responsible for the concepts, management, and performance of the group’s 14 restaurants and bars. Food and beverage across the group accounts for as much as 35% of revenue in each hotel, making it a vital part of the group’s business. Since joining three years ago, Lydia has increased the revenue of the restaurants and bars across the group by more than 20%, and the profits by 30%. Lydia’s efforts have also received industry recognition with Rocco Forte Nourish, a healthy eating project, nominated for a Catey Award.


Raphael Richterich, RicolaRaphael Richterich

ROLE               Member of the board of directors 

COMPANY      Ricola

COUNTRY       Switzerland

Raphael Richterich is continuing to progress in his leadership succession within Ricola’s parent company from former chief marketing officer to joining the board in May 2018. The fourth-generation 34-year-old economist will bring his experience of the past five years in various operational management positions in the company and strategically support the further development of the Ricola brand. He is also playing an important role in the future of Ricola and the linking board member with its external innovation unit, Ricolab.


Juana Roig

ROLE               General Director 

COMPANY      Mercadona Online

COUNTRY       Spain

Juana Roig has served low-key apprenticeships via several other well-known Spanish family businesses, Mango and Inditex. Now she has taken on the challenge of rapidly digitising Mercadona’s traditionally lagging e-commerce platform. Mercadona Online is understood to generate only 1% of its overall revenues, equivalent to about €170 million ($204 million). Roig is leading this digital initiative alongside the dual challenges of her father, Juan’s, natural scepticism about the online model, and significant competition from online competitors like Amazon.

 Top Next-Generation Entrepreneur 

George Bamford

ROLE               Founder 

COMPANY      Bamford Watch Department

COUNTRY       United Kingdom

Bamford Watch Department is the first company to offer full personalisation of the world’s most desirable watches—without voiding the manufacturer’s warranty. Bamford, 37, started working as an exclusive authorised partner of LVMH on Zenith and Bulgari in 2017 then TAG Heuer later that year. The grandson of JCB founder Joseph Cyril Bamford and son of tycoon Lord Anthony Bamford began by using some of the technical experience gained at JCB to customise two vintage watches, giving one to his father. The company’s success quickly built on word of mouth and appeal to those who seek exclusivity.


Maria Sole FerragamoMaria Sole Ferragamo

ROLE               Co-founder and artistic director 

COMPANY      SO-LE Studio

COUNTRY       UK/Italy

The 27-year-old granddaughter of Salvatore Ferragamo has drawn from her family’s passion and creativity with leather and taken her business in a new direction; designing and crafting environmentally conscious leather jewellery under her own brand SO-LE Studio. Designed in London and made in Florence, her pieces are made from off-cut from the luxury industry, meaning they reduce waste and are limited edition by their nature. The company was nominated for the CEDIT Prize awarded to an emerging Italian designer at Miart. In addition it was awarded Positive Luxury’s Butterfly Mark for its commitment to sustainability.


Jessica Frankopan

ROLE               Co-founder 

COMPANY      A Curious Group of Hotels

COUNTRY       United Kingdom 

Frankopan is the daughter of former Conservative MP Sir Timothy Sainsbury and great, great grand-daughter of the founder of the J Sainsbury supermarket chain. She and husband Peter started A Curious Group of Hotels with their focus on luxury, uniqueness and service. They bought and restored Cowley Manor, a large 1855 Italianate villa near Cheltenham, in 2000 then bought L’Hotel in Paris, The Portobello Hotel in London and Canal House in Amsterdam plus a 1920s motoring yacht. They launched their own bath, body and skincare range, Green & Spring.


Tom Hartley Jnr - Photo Tom Shaxson for Classic DriverTom Hartley Jr

ROLE               Founder 

COMPANY      Tom Hartley Jnr

COUNTRY       United Kingdom

Hartley initially spent almost 20 years with his father and his brother in the supercar trading family business, a full partner based on merit by the time he was 16. He launched his independent venture to introduce high-end clients to the classic car market in 2014. The eponymous business operates from a private showroom in Derbyshire, but has global reach—overseas sales have grown from £14.5 million ($19.6 million) to £33.3 million and the company was awarded the Queen’s Award for International Trade in 2018.


Kilian Hennessy - Ph: PAKilian Hennessy

ROLE               Founder 

COMPANY      By Kilian

COUNTRY       France

Heir to a long line of French cognac-makers who were pioneers in luxury, Hennessey graduated from CELSA in Paris, trained with the finest noses in perfumery, then launched his namesake brand in 2007. Just over a decade later, Kilian features more than 35 scents spread across distinct collections. One of the brand’s points of difference is its ‘eco-luxe’ philosophy where each bottle can be refilled and kept for a lifetime. The brand has diversified and offers a collection of wearable scented jewellery and decorative objects for the home.

 Top Non-Family Director 

Jean Claude Biver - Ph. TAG Hauer Jean-Claude Biver

ROLE               Chief executive 

COMPANY      TAG Heuer

COUNTRY       Switzerland

Having served his apprenticeship at Audemars Piguet in the 1970s, the 68-year-old Biver rescued Blancpain, Omega and Hublot before Bernard Arnault promoted him to LVMH watch division president and tasked him with saving TAG Heuer and Zenith. Biver is credited with helping to rescue the Swiss luxury watch industry from the “quartz crisis” of the 1970s and pioneered celebrity endorsements and product placements. He targets new generations of watch consumers and embraces disrupters such as the Apple Watch. TAG Heuer contributed greatly to the Watch & Jewellery business group at LVMH in 2017, making a 12% profit year-on-year profit to €512 million ($629 million).


Jean-Luc Bélingard

ROLE               Chairman and chief executive 

COMPANY      bioMérieux

COUNTRY       France

Bélingard was chief of this world leader of in vitro diagnostics since 2010 until he was succeeded in December 2017 by family next gen Alexandre Mérieux, his deputy chief executive of three years. Bélingard remains on the bioMérieux board as a director and continues as vice president of Institut Mérieux. Working alongside patriarch Alain Mérieux, chairman of Institut Mérieux and founding chairman of bioMérieux, Bélingard is now responsible for strategy and institutional relations. He oversaw €2.3 billion ($2.76 billion) in sales in 2017, 10.2% growth on 2016 and slightly outperforming the objective of 9% to 10%.


Pablo Isla - Ph. Carlos VenturaPablo Isla

ROLE               Chief executive 

COMPANY      Inditex

COUNTRY       Spain

Isla has served as chief executive of Inditex, the world’s largest clothes retailer by sales, since 2005. The prolific lawyer was made deputy chairman and chief executive of Inditex in 2005. Also the chairman from 2011, he is credited with more than tripling revenues and quadrupling products in that time. Isla introduced product data gathering to inform its supply chain and meet changing customer demands in three weeks. In March 2018, Inditex announced its revenue from online sales grew 41% in 2017, with 10% of total sales now online, overall revenue rose 9% in 2017 to €25.34 billion ($31.2 billion).


Dan Jago

ROLE               Chief executive

COMPANY      Berry Bros & Rudd

COUNTRY       United Kingdom

In 2015, Jago was the first external chief executive of the 320-year-old wine merchant and his leadership has been pivotal to its rejuvenation. He streamlined the company’s organisational structure and its autonomous units, bringing the company closer together culturally and physically. In the fiscal year 2017, Berry Bros & Rudd reported a six-year sales high of £171 million ($231 million), up 17% on the previous year. In 2017, the company hosted more paid events alone than all the previous years since it started private events in 2000. Jago oversaw the opening of new retail premises on Pall Mall with the aim of turning it into a destination for its customers.


Andreas Ronken, RitterAndreas Ronken

ROLE               Chief executive, production and technology 

COMPANY      Ritter Sport

COUNTRY       Germany

Under Ronken’s leadership, Ritter Sport declared in March 2018 it is the first bar manufacturer among major chocolate brands to use 100% certified cocoa and has achieved its goal ahead of previous target years of 2025 then 2020. Revenue grew by 2.6% to €482 million ($594 million) in 2017. Ritter harvested in 2017 its first cocoa crop at Finca El Cacao, the 2,500ha cocoa plantation it owns and operates in southeast Nicaragua, after six years of development and investment. Beyond Germany, Russia is Ritter’s largest international market and it has operated in the US for 25 years.

 Top Sustainable Family Business 

Brembo - Photo: gims.swissBrembo

FAMILY           Bombassei 

SECTOR          Auto parts

COUNTRY       Italy

Brembo has been recognised as a global leader in corporate response to climate change and was awarded a position on this year’s Climate A List by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). In 2017, the group provided more than 195,000 hours of training, including environment, health, safety and compliance matters. Brembo’s CSR programme is led by third-gen Cristina Bombassei. Brembo has averaged 15.1% growth over the past three years—due in part to its focus on supplying brakes and clutches to premium car makers, from BMW to Porsche. It also supplies Formula One teams, including Ferrari, and high-end motorcycle manufacturers.


Gebrüder WeissGebrüder Weiss

FAMILIES       Weiss and Jerie  

SECTOR          Logistics

COUNTRY       Austria

Gebrüder Weiss has had a sustainability-minded business culture since the 1970s. Since 2009, the leading Austrian logistics service provider has published an annual sustainability report in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). GW was awarded the GRI-Quality Seal for the first Sustainability Report of a Logistics Company in Austria in 2010. Austria’s oldest forwarding company, dating back to 1430, is still family-owned and has two next-gen family members on the board. Revenues at the company almost doubled between 2001 and 2011 with similar growth in the past five years.


MANE HQ Bar sur Loup, France - Ph: Gerard UferasMANE

FAMILY           Mane 

SECTOR          Manufacturer

COUNTRY       France

MANE has won several sustainability awards including a national French competition—the 2017 CSR Challenges Trophy. An award-winning signatory of the Global Compact since 2003, MANE set up a whistleblowing hotline in 2016 and created a group ethics committee, with members reporting directly to the chairman. Jean Mane has been president since 1995 and under him the company has become a global operator in 38 countries with sustainable development at the heart of its corporate policy. It invests almost 9% of revenues into research & development annually, equivalent to €7.5 million in 2016. Annual 2016 revenues were €1.06 billion ($1.17 billion).



FAMILY           Olszewski   

SECTOR          Transport

COUNTRY       Poland

The Polish bus company won the Bus of the Year 2017 award for its electric Urbino bus, the first time an electric bus has won. The European leader in e-mobility dominates the Polish market and is one of the largest suppliers of city buses in Germany. It has a full CSR programme including a childcare facility for workers, an apprentice programme with the Technical University of Poznan, and its own organic farm to grow produce for staff. Turnover in 2017 was €434 million, making it a record year with the highest ever numbers of buses produced.



FAMILY           Wates 

SECTOR          Construction

COUNTRY       United Kingdom

Wates has won numerous awards for its sustainability efforts and is also using future technologies to drive efficiency. It uses Oculus VR gear to improve construction outcomes. Its sustainability initiative, Reshaping Tomorrow, has won several awards in the UK including a second consecutive Queens Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development in 2016. Wates spent more than £2 million ($2.7 million) in the social enterprise sector in 2016. Wates has more than 200 SEs in its supply chain. More than 25% of its electricity is from renewable sources. The group reported pre-tax profits of £35.7 million ($48.2 million), from revenues of £1.62 billion in 2017 up 6% on 2016.



FAMILY           Winterhalter   

SECTOR          Warewashing

COUNTRY       Germany

Winterhalter has a history of winning sustainability awards, including the 2016 Sustainable Catering Equipment Award FCSI (Foodservice Consultants Society International) and 2012 Green Apple Award from the UK’s Green Organisation. It has been voted best warewashing solutions, quality/product performance and service by more than 800 German hoteliers and restaurateurs. The firm innovated with its Connected Wash functionality that enables sustainable cost optimisation, allowing clients to monitor their systems in real-time and change cycles to save time and energy. Winterhalter earns annual revenues of €300 million ($359 million) with 41 branch offices worldwide.


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