Sometimes it feels like the world’s most successful businesses have all been started recently. That’s because companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple and Tesla dominate the corporate imagination these days. But there are many successful companies that have been around for 100 years or more – and are still going strong. Perhaps, given their longevity and contribution to society, they are the real heroes of the corporate world.
Out of the 500 biggest family businesses in the world, as measured by Global Family Business Index, which is compiled by St Gallen University with support from EY, more than a quarter (133) have been in existence for 100 years or more. The oldest business on the list is the Japanese construction and engineering group, Takenaka Corp, which was founded in 1610. This is followed by the German pharmaceutical group, Merck, founded in 1668. The French financial group, Wendel, is the third oldest company on the list, founded in 1706. These companies continue to thrive despite being hundreds of years old.
The 10 Oldest and most Successful Family-Controlled Companies
Company Founded Based
Takenaka Corporation 1610 Japan
Merck 1668 Germany
Wendel 1706 France
Franz Haniel 1756 Germany
Molson Coors Brewing 1785 US
Jeronimo Martins 1792 Portugal
Thomson Reuters 1799 Canada
D’Ieteren 1805 Belgium
Wieland-Werke 1820 Germany
Bolloré 1822 France
Source: Global Family Business Index
Maybe the survivability of businesses could be a way of better gauging the success of a business in the future. After all, these businesses have all contributed more to job creation than Google, Apple and Microsoft put together, and they still are. At the very least, how these businesses have innovated and stayed top of their game for such a long time should be at the forefront of business courses.