Family business
Latest Case Studies
Case Study Family Business Sustainability Strategy Diversity and Equity and Inclusion
Firmenich: Juggling the short and the long term
Formatted like a comic-strip, this case showcases how Firmenich achieved resilience and strong sustainability commitments thanks to its family ownership. The case investigates how family ownership spanning across four generations and 125 years, has influenced the company’s core values and brought a long-term perspective to its strategy, which al…
By Sameh Abadir and Marta Widz
©2022
Firmenich: Juggling the short and the long term
By Sameh Abadir and Marta Widz
©2022
Summary
Formatted like a comic-strip, this case showcases how Firmenich achieved resilience and strong sustainability commitments thanks to its family ownership. The case investigates how family ownership spanning across four generations and 125 years, has influenced the company’s core values and brought a long-term perspective to its strategy, which allowed sustainability, diversity, and inclusion on the executives’ agenda many decades before its peers. The case concludes by illustrating how these core foundational values allowed Firmenich to weather the COVID-19 storm by prompting the organization to react very rapidly, in a display of strong resilience. Firmenich is the winner of the 2019 IMD-Pictet Sustainability in Family Business Award.
Copyright ©2022
Copyright owner IMD Copyright
Organization Firmenich
Industry Consumer Goods, Cosmetics and Perfumes;Consumer Goods, Food and Beverage
Language English
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Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Case Study Sustainability Family Business Strategy
The VELUX Group: The path to lifetime carbon neutrality
The case explores how the family-owned VELUX Group – inventor and manufacturer of roof windows since 1941 – took incorporating sustainability in its business operations to heart, leading to its pledge to become lifetime carbon neutral by its centenary in 2041. In its early days and at the behest of its founder, the VELUX Group adopted its “Mod…
By Sameh Abadir and Marc Chauvet
©2022
The VELUX Group: The path to lifetime carbon neutrality
By Sameh Abadir and Marc Chauvet
©2022
Summary
The case explores how the family-owned VELUX Group – inventor and manufacturer of roof windows since 1941 – took incorporating sustainability in its business operations to heart, leading to its pledge to become lifetime carbon neutral by its centenary in 2041. In its early days and at the behest of its founder, the VELUX Group adopted its “Model Company Objective (MCO),” a charter for how the business should be run. The case illustrates how the MCO set the company on a course toward sustainable operations, allowing it to spearhead such efforts in an industry often reluctant to engage with the topic.
Copyright ©2022
Copyright owner IMD Copyright
Organization VELUX
Industry Manufacturing
Language English
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Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Case Study Family Business Corporate Governance Sustainability
J.M. Huber Corporation: Leadership succession in the face of two economic crises
J.M. Huber, one of the largest and oldest family-held companies in the US, had strategically repositioned itself several times since it was founded in 1883 as a dry-color business. Visionary family leaders and a committed senior management team had transformed the group into an international player with operations in more than 20 countries and a…
By Sameh Abadir and Marta Widz
©2022
Case Study Family Business Sustainability Supply Chain Strategy Operations
Dachser (B): Putting intelligent logistics to the test
This brief B case dives into how the governance model withstood the COVID-19 crisis.
By Benoit F. Leleux and Marta Widz
©2022
Case Study Family Business Sustainability Supply Chain Strategy Operations
Dachser (A): Intelligent logistics
The case, based on extensive interviews with top executives and two generations of Dachser family owners, documents the genesis and spectacular growth of the global logistics specialist, a group that now has close to 400 locations on all five continents and employs 30,000+ people. Despite its global footprint, Dachser stayed loyal to both its co…
By Benoit F. Leleux and Marta Widz
©2022
Case Study Family Business Diversity and Equity and Inclusion Strategy Sustainability Value Creation
Brown-Forman: Nothing better in the market
London, UK, July 2020. G. Garvin Brown IV, the chairman of Brown-Forman Corporation and 5th generation family shareholder, was preparing to celebrate the firm’s 150th anniversary. Despite its current global footprint, a turnover in excess of $3.3 billion and over 4,800 employees worldwide, Brown-Forman had remained in Louisville, Kentucky, close…
2021 EFMD Case Writing Competition Award – Family Business
By Benoit F. Leleux Marta Widz and Marc Chauvet
©2021
Brown-Forman: Nothing better in the market
Case Study Family Business
The Sika takeover battle
The longest corporate takeover battle in the history of Switzerland – and possibly the world – pitted Sika, a Swiss chemicals manufacturer, against Saint-Gobain, a French conglomerate. At the heart of the dispute was a family business. Sika was a very successful family-controlled firm whose fourth-generation descendants decided to sell their sta…
By Peter Vogel and Anouk Lavoie Orlick
©2021
Case Study Strategy Family Business
Pentland brands: Succession dilemma (B)
LONDON, 2018. The shareholders of Pentland Group, Rubin family, looked back at the dilemma that the family had faced three years ago concerning the CEO succession of their legacy business – Pentland Brands. In 2015 when Stephen’s son Andy, the CEO of Pentland Brands, had raised the subject of his own succession, the family faced a series of ques…
By Denise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez and Marta Widz
©2020
Pentland brands: Succession dilemma (B)
By Denise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez and Marta Widz
©2020
Summary
LONDON, 2018. The shareholders of Pentland Group, Rubin family, looked back at the dilemma that the family had faced three years ago concerning the CEO succession of their legacy business – Pentland Brands. In 2015 when Stephen’s son Andy, the CEO of Pentland Brands, had raised the subject of his own succession, the family faced a series of questions. The Rubin family looked back at the decision they had taken three years ago safe in the knowledge that it had been the right one. Non-family CEO, Andy Long, who had served for Pentland for 10 years, was promoted internally to the CEO position. Stephen Rubin split the Chairman position into Pentland Group’s Chairman and Pentland Brands’ Chairman. Andy Rubin stepped down from the CEO position and assumed the role of the Chairman of Pentland Brands. Pentland Brands improved its financial position. Most of the growth in the top line was captured in the bottom line. Pentland Brands seemed to have overcome the challenges thanks to the reorganization undertaken by their new CEO.
Copyright ©2020
Copyright owner IMD Copyright
Organization Pentland Group
Industry Consumer Goods, Sportswear;Consumer Goods, Apparel and Fashion
Language English
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Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Case Study Family Business Strategy
Pentland brands: Succession dilemma (A)
LONDON, 2015. The Rubin family’s history, for the last 80 years, had been deeply intertwined with that of Pentland Group. Berko Rubin founded the company in 1932, his son Stephen took over after Berko’s death, and his son, Andy, served as the CEO of Pentland Brands, the brand division within the group. Once the main element of the group’s portfo…
By Denise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez and Marta Widz
©2020
Pentland brands: Succession dilemma (A)
By Denise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez and Marta Widz
©2020
Summary
LONDON, 2015. The Rubin family’s history, for the last 80 years, had been deeply intertwined with that of Pentland Group. Berko Rubin founded the company in 1932, his son Stephen took over after Berko’s death, and his son, Andy, served as the CEO of Pentland Brands, the brand division within the group. Once the main element of the group’s portfolio, the brand management division faced many challenges in this ever-changing VUCA world. After turning 50, Andy raised the subject of his own succession in a meeting with the family shareholders. The history had taught the Rubin family that succession could be a great turning point, bringing rejuvenation to the business. Now, how could the Rubin family make the most of the next CEO succession? What competency profile should the next CEO possess? Could these competencies be found within the family? Would the board decide on a family CEO from among the members of the next generation? Or a non-family member? If they chose a non-family CEO, should it be an insider – a person who had a track record with Pentland and who understood the “familiness” of the firm and the values of the family owners, or an outsider who would bring a fresh perspective to the business?
Copyright ©2020
Copyright owner IMD Copyright
Organization Pentland Group
Industry Consumer Goods, Sportswear;Consumer Goods, Apparel and Fashion
Language English
Contact

Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Case Study Strategy Family Business Sustainability
Villeroy & Boch: Tradition, innovation and 270 years of a Franco-German alliance
Villeroy & Boch is one of the oldest manufacturing companies in Europe, still controlled by the founding families, though with a public listing. Its specialty is ceramics, divided into bathroom fittings and tableware. At the time of writing the case study, demand was falling for traditional ceramic dining sets, but the business was continuing to…
By Denise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez and Philip Whiteley
©2020
Case Study Strategy Family Business
Lee Kum Kee Co. Ltd (D): Governance reforms start to show rewards as the fifth generation matures
Lee Kum Kee Co Ltd, producer of LKK oyster sauce and a range of food and health products, reached its 130th year in 2018. The fifth generation comprised cousins mostly in young adulthood who were beginning to assume leadership roles as owner-governers. Senior executives were non-family specialists. At the time of writing, the fourth generation w…
By Denise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez and Philip Whiteley
©2019
Case Study Family Business Strategy
Estafeta: From fragmented ownership to developing commitment as responsible owners facing challenges in an uncertain business environment in Mexico
Estafeta is a parcel delivery service provider in Mexico. Founded in 1979 by Gerd Grimm (an old wolf as he described himself) and his partners, the company has gone through unpredictable regulatory, legislative and fiscal environment in Mexico. As a German immigrant, Grimm combined the traditional long-held principles of the Mittelstand (German …
By Denise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez Oscar Howell-Fernández​ and Jung Eung Park
©2019
Case Study Family Business Strategy
De Agostini: Repurposing the business & the family
MILAN (ITALY), SEPTEMBER 2018. The Strategic Lab at De Agostini, part strategic think-tank and part assessment tool for the next-generation talent of the Drago-Boroli family, owners of De Agostini, was brainstorming the future direction of the diversified, family-owned group. After almost 100 years in the publishing and printing business, the th…
By Benoit F. Leleux Marta Widz and Guido Corbetta
©2019
Case Study Strategy Family Business
Family leadership challenges: Disrupting the momentum at Samsung
Samsung is a Korean conglomerate (or chaebol) founded in 1938. Once a sole trading company, it has grown into a myriad of companies generating over $380 billion globally in industries as varied as construction, semiconductors, shipbuilding, banking and entertainment. Like most Korean conglomerates, an unusual feature of Samsung is that it has no…
By Denise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez Jung Eung Park and Marc Chauvet
©2018
Case Study Strategy Family Business
Lacoste: Family feud imperils business independence
Lacoste, an internationally renowned leisurewear brand, was a company owned by the family, having been founded in 1933 by legendary tennis player Rene Lacoste. It hit crisis in 2012 over a feud within the family, despite a strong recent history in terms of business management. Indeed, the company had successfully recovered from a mini-crisis of …
By Denise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez Lise Møller and Philip Whiteley
©2018