It has been a tumultuous year for businesses worldwide as the effects of the credit crunch reverberate throughout the markets. But amid these dark times, some family businesses are prospering under the leadership of some very notable individuals who have made the news over the past year.
As the end of 2008 draws ever closer, the team at Campden FB has made a shortlist of who we feel has made the biggest impression over the past year. Cast your vote for who you think deserves to be crowned the Campden FB Family Business Leader of the Year 2008.
Emilio Botín is turning family-owned Grupo Santander into one of the big players on the world banking stage. Despite being in the worst possible sector amid a credit crunch, the low geared, highly profitable company was one of the winners as it snapped up smaller rivals at knock down prices.
Emma Marcegaglia broke through the glass ceiling when she became the first woman to head Italian business association Confindustria in March. Known as "the steel lady" from her role as MD of the €4 billion family-owned steel firm Marcegaglia, she is a role model on the rise.
John Franklyn Mars, as head of Mars family, had to give his blessing to the merger between Mars Inc and family-owned WM Wrigley. The $23 billion deal creates one of the largest, private businesses in the world, and ties in family business fan and investor extraordinaire Warren Buffett.
James Murdoch took a step closer to the top job at News Corporation when he became chairman and CEO for News Corporation Europe and Asia. While Rupert was entangled in a messy start to his ownership of the Wall Street Journal, James looks set to finally emerge from his father's shadow.
The Roca family, owners of family-owned Roca Corporación. The Spanish company won the 13th annual IMD-LODH Distinguished Family Business Award for its success in blending family and business interests and their exemplary responsibility to their employees and society. A world leader in the production and distribution of bathroom products, it has 22,000 employees worldwide and revenues of about $2.6 billion.
Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler was the architect of her family business's daring takeover of tyremaker Continental in August. Schaeffler was dwarfed in size by its larger rival, but cunning stockbuilding enabled the company to force through a hostile takeover in double quick time.
Carlos Slim Helu started off the year as the world's wealthiest family business owner and the second wealthiest man on the planet. Since then he has made a notable investment in the New York Times, not to mention the millions he gives away to charity through his Carlos Slim foundation.
Ratan Tata, chairman of Indian conglomerate Tata Group struck a blow for millions of his countrymen where unable to afford a car. By launching his "people's car" he looks to be leaving a lasting legacy. Not content with that, he also acquired iconic luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover.
If you think another family business leader is more deserving of the title please contact us to share your thoughts.