A recent report predicts that women will increasingly lead family businesses as more families decide to appoint a female boss than ever before. Here’s five family businesses run by exceptional women who’ve made a difference to the success of their companies – and are providing a role model for future women leaders.
Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette, chairman of Sonepar, France
Coisne-Roquette is one of France’s most competent business individuals, having been chairman of the business her father Henri Coisne since 1998. Through some shrewd business deals and acquisitions, Coisne-Roquette has propelled Sonepar into one of the biggest electrical equipment wholesales in the world with €17.2 billion of sales in 2014. The trained lawyer is a big advocate of family businesses and the important role of women should play within them.
Guler Sabanci, chairman and managing director of Sabanci Holding, Turkey
Often appearing on top women in business league tables worldwide, Guler Sabanci has run the third generation industrial and financial conglomerate for more than ten years. Gaining valuable experience in working for various subsidiaries of the Sabanci empire before taking the top job, Guler Sabanci has proven a more than worthy successor to her family’s legacy. Like Coisne-Roquette, Guler Sabanci has been a big advocate of empowering women. Sabanci became the first Turkish company to sign the United Nations’ Women’s Empowerment Principles.
Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, president and chairwoman of TRUMPF, Germany
One of Germany’s most powerful business women, Leibinger-Kammüller took over the running of the machine-tool supplier from her father Berthold Leibinger in 2005. Interestingly, Leibinger gradually took over the business from the original owners the Trumpf family. The fluent Japanese speaker Leibinger-Kammüller has more than doubled revenues since she’s been at the helm.
Abigail Johnson, president and CEO of Fidelity Investments, USA
Johnson was appointed president of the huge American asset management company in 2012 and subsequently CEO. Founded by her grandfather Edward C. Johnson II, Johnson worked her way up to the top at Fidelity after joining in the family business in 1988 as an analyst. She is one of the few women bosses in the global asset management industry, which has traditionally been very male dominated.
Diana Nelson, chairwoman of Carlson, USA
Diana Nelson took over from her mother Marilyn Carlson Nelson as chair of the hospitality and travel company in 2013. Founded by her grandfather Curtis Carlson, Diana Nelson can draw on her mother’s incredible experiences in running the business. Marilyn Carlson came up against considerable barriers in running the business, partly because she was a woman. But her determination to succeed led her to the top of the business and to become an inspiring business leader. Diana appears to be following in her footsteps and offering inspiring leadership at Carlson.