Famous Family Businesses

Family businesses have been the backbone of entrepreneurs for many years. Parents often dream of handing over their pride joy enterprise to their siblings. Not all are successful, but here are some famous family businesses you’re sure to know.

The first of any list of family businesses have to involve the Rothschild family, which is probably the oldest family dynasty in business today. Their business interests date back to the late 1700’s. Current Rothchild enterprises include (but are not limited to), RIT Capital Trust, N M Rothschild & Sons and Glencore mining.

The Murdoch family are a more modern family business and are owners of the titanic NewsCorp organisation that is currently headed by the father Rupert, but the heir apparent, James, already has shown great business sense in running the UK arm BSkyB.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (branded as Walmart) is an American public corporation that runs a chain of large, discount department stores. It is considered on of the world’s largest public corporations based on revenue. It was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton and his son Rob currently acts as chairman.

Fiat, Italy’s motor manufacturing giant was founded in 1899 by a group of investors which included Giovanni Agnelli, the Agnelli family have remained in Fiat since then, and the heir of Agnelli, John Elkann is the current vice chairman.

Paul Jacobs followed in his father footsteps when he was appointed as CEO of Qualcomm, a wireless technology company. The board of directors first looked elsewhere after the father and founder, Irwin had decided to step down. Paul already worked at Qualcomm and stepped into his father’s shoes with ease.

South Korea’s Koo family, owners of the diversified giant LG Group. Koo In-Hwoi, founded the company in 1947, Bon Moo Koo is the current chairman and CEO of this conglomerate, that is bringing in revenues of more than $100bn per year.

Comcast was founded in 1963 by Ralph Roberts. It is the largest cable operator in the USA, Ralph is no longer involved, except to offer some solicited advice to his son Brian, who is the current CEO.

The Oppenheimer family have been in the forefront of the world’s diamond production since Ernest Oppenheimer became Chairman of DeBeers in 1927. Nicky Oppenheimer, grandson of Ernest, is the current chairman of the group.

Fidelity Investments is the largest mutual funds group in the world. It was founded in 1946 by Edward Johnson. Edwards’ son, Edward “Ned” Johnson III, is the current chairman and his eldest child, Abigail Johnson, runs Fidelity’s retirement-services division after a four-year stint running the money-management unit.

Carrefour is the largest hypermarket chain in the world in terms of size. It was founded in 1957 France’s Denis and Jacques Defforey and partner Maurciel Fournier. The Defforey still have part ownership and the Carrefour revenues are approximately $61bn.
The Redstone family have owned National Amusements, Inc. since founding it as the Northeast Theatre Corporation in 1936. Founder, Michael Redstone passed onto his son, Sumner Redstone Sumner now only who holds 80% of the company, with his daughter, Shari Redstone, owning the remaining 20%. Shari Redstone is often referred to as Sumners clone, and shows the same business savvy as her father.

Carlos Slim Helú is the wealthiest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $53bn. His telecommunications empire, including Telmex and TelCel, is now being run by his three sons, Carlos Jnr, Marcos Antonio and Patricio. Carlos Snr functions as the chairman emeritus.

The Busch family owned and operated the largest US brewery Anhauser-Busch for 150 years. In November 2008 it was sold by August-Busch IV to InBev a Brazilian – Belgian brewing company for $46bn. The purchase made the new brewer the largest in the world, overtaking SABMiller.

Li Ka-shing and his eldest son, Victor Li. Run two of Li’s listed companies. Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong,. Li is famous for selling companies at their peak and these activities have made him the richest man in Asia.

Christie Hefner may not be as famous as her father, or living the same type of high life. But she is currently running Playboy Enterprises that her father Hugh created.

There are many other famous family businesses that are household names. Family businesses are estimated to contribute to over 70% of the worlds GDP. The lists are endless, but here are a few more worth noting.

Ford Motor Company: Automobiles – Ford family
Trump Organisation: Property – Trump family
Novartis Group: Health & personal care – Landolt family
Santander Central Hispano S.A. (NR) : Banking – Botin family
BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke AG): Automobiles – Quandt family
Tengelmann Group: Retailing – Haub family
Robert Bosch GmbH : Auto Parts – Bosch family
ALDI Group: Food retailing – Albrecht family
Samsung Electronics: Electronics – Lee family
Ito-Yokado: Convenience stores – Ito family
J Sainsbury: Retail groceries – Sainsbury family


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