The sixties is associated with the hippies, the Vietnam War, and some of the most tumultuous years of the 20th century, but it was also a golden period for family businesses. Or at least it was a decade when many of the most successful companies of today were launched.
According to an analysis of the Family Capital 750 – the biggest family businesses in the world – the decade most of them were set up was the 1960s. To be precise, 91 were launched in the decade known more for flower power, the Beatles and near revolution in some countries in 1968 than the blossoming of great businesses.
But companies like Comcast, the enormous media and communications company, NIKE, the sportswear group, and The Gap, the iconic clothing group were launched in the 1960s against the background of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War in the US. In Europe, Luxottica, the world’s biggest maker of sunglasses and owned by the Del Vecchio family, was founded in the 1960s, so to was Groupe Auchan, the French-based international retail group owned by the Mulliez family. In India, the Ambani owned Reliance Industries was founded.
It was truly a remarkable decade for the launch of businesses that today are some of the most successful corporations in the world. Most of these companies have transitioned to the second generation of control, or even the third. But they continue to flourish in the 21st century.