Quotes of the Year

Photo by mattjeacock/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by mattjeacock/iStock / Getty Images

“In that year a survey was done that showed there were two mills in Kilmacthomas just after Oliver Cromwell passed through the town. It’s believed that ours was one of those mills.” — John Flahavan, the sixth generation owner and managing director of the Irish food company Flahavan’s


“The family business goes back so many generations that current family members are often hard pressed to know exactly how many – probably around 20 generations.” Wolfram Senger-Weiss, who sits on the four member executive board that controls the Austrian logistics company Gebrüder Weiss


“When we sit down we talk about watches. It drives other people crazy but it is who we are. And of course the first time we meet someone we look at their watch.”Edouard Meylan, head of family-owned Swiss watch brand H Moser & Cie


“You can’t get too bogged down with talk about stewardship from one generation to the next. That’s not going to sustain the business.” Sir Michael Bibby, the sixth generation head of the UK transport and retail company the Bibby Line Group


“There’s no doubt families have their positives, but they also have their negatives. The big positive is that you have a whole different approach to the way you do business, based on long-term decision making. We don’t just slash costs to improve our short-term profitability. And we take a satisfying rather than maximizing approach to profits. The big negative is that you’ve got the weight of history on you running the business. You feel this pressure dragging you into it.”Lance Forman, owner of a fourth generation London-based family business H. Forman & Son


“We have a long-term vision, we stay on the same path and don’t zigzag because of external events like other companies.”Antje von Dewitz, the second-generation CEO of the German mountain sports equipment business Vaude


“If there is no motivation or goals, and no culture of hard work, if innovation and serial entrepreneurialism are not valued then I don’t know how to go forward as a family.” Jouni Salo, fourth-generation members of the Hollming shipping dynasty.


“The biggest decision I’ve made in my career is to separate ownership and management. And the second biggest decision is to ensure our company adheres to the highest levels of governance one can possibly have as a family business.”Ghassan Nuqul, the second generation vice chairman of the Jordanian consumer products company Nuqul Group


“When I was working for the family business I had the feeling that I wasn’t getting the respect I deserve. Then I decided to leave the business and from that moment on I got the respect from my parents.” Jan Olszewski, the second generation member of one of Poland’s most successful family businesses Solaris Bus & Coach, and founder of Owners Place


“The business goes beyond just making money. Our seven principles are central to everything we do. I don’t know any other business that has these sort of principles behind them.” Subra Eassuwaren, the third generation family member helping to run the Sri Lankan tea company Eswaran Brothers


“He told his three children that they weren’t going to work for Linn. It wasn’t going to become a family business, even though his father helped him get started.”Gilad Tiefenbrun, the second generation head of the Scottish music systems company Linn


“It’s sometimes very difficult for the 1st generation to allow the 2nd generation to work on their own, they always want to keep control.”Nathalie Felber – CEO of the Swiss furniture group Dietiker


“You need to breathe the air of where you’ve come from.” — Gildo Zegna, CEO of the Italian fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna


“The second generation can often be stunned into inaction given the incredible success of the first. And unlike the third or the fourth generation, the second generation watch the wealth being made in real time.” Khaled Said, the CEO of the family office Capital Generation Partners


“Maybe I’m always going to be known as Surinder’s son, but it makes you work harder to ensure you gain that respect among your fellow staff.”Sanjay Arora, the second generation manager of the UK hotel group Arora International Hotels


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