Ireland’s Musgrave Group has taken out the top honour at the seventh European Families in Business Awards, presented in Madrid on 12 June.
The food retail and wholesale company, whose brands include SuperValu, Centra and Daybreak, impressed the judges with its cutting-edge governance structure, and commitment to sustainability and customer well-being.
Chris Musgrave, vice chairman of Musgrave Group, accepted the Top Family Business Award on stage with senior family and non-family members of his sixth-generation company to applause. He thanked host Campden Wealth, sponsor Societe Generale Private Banking (SGPB) and “the generosity of the third generation of my family” at the podium.
“It was through their wisdom that 20-something years ago they realised that to pass a business on of our size, you have got to involve the family, and that’s how the whole structure started,” Musgrave said.
“Here we are today and it has been a resounding success. We are as good as yesterday, we keep going [and] that is why I come to a do like this, I want to come and learn, we all want to come and learn from other family businesses what is best in class [and] where do we go from here.”
Musgrave’s 2017 results show a third consecutive year of profit growth, up 9% year-on-year before tax to €80 million ($96 million). Total sales also performed well at €3.7 billion despite on-going food deflation.
About 100 members of business-owning families of substantial wealth, their executives, and advisers enjoyed the prestigious gala dinner and awards at Madrid’s Westin Palace, held in partnership with SGPB for the seventh consecutive year. Six awards were presented throughout the evening.
The Top Family Business Leader award was jointly won by Matthieu Leclercq and Gabriel Escarrer Jaume.
Leclercq is a second-generation founding family member and chairman of French sporting goods retailer Decathlon, and led a transformation of his family’s business which has seen revenue growth in the double digits for the last three years. Leclercq accepted his award in person.
Jaume, of Melia Hotels International, also led a strong surge in growth, as well as major technological change at the group founded by his father. This company posted revenue of €1.9 billion in 2017 and net profit leapt 28% to €129 million. His prize was accepted by José Gras, operations director, regional Spain, of Melia Hotels International.
Lydia Forte, part of the third generation of the family behind Rocco Forte Hotels, took out the Top Family Business Rising Star award. Since joining the hotel group three years ago, the young restaurant and bar development manager has increased revenue at the group’s restaurants and bars by more than 20%, and profits by 30%. Forte accepted her award in person.
Sole Ferragamo of SO-LE Studio won Top-Next Generation Entrepreneur for her elegant yet avant garde jewellery lines, which use remnant leather from luxury fashion houses. Ferragamo accepted her award in person.
The legendary Pablo Isla of Spain’s Inditex took out Top Non-Family Director. Isla is credited with more than tripling revenues and quadrupling products since taking over as chief executive in 2005.
French group MANE, which specialises in the fascinating world of fragrance, flavour design, and ingredients won Top Sustainable Family Business. MANE puts 9% of revenue to research and development, and set up a whistleblowing hotline in 2016 and created a group ethics committee which reports to the chairman. Jean Mane, fourth-generation family member and president, accepted the award.
The coveted awards recognise family businesses from across Europe that excel in stewardship, governance, growth, and sustainability, as judged by five family business leaders and specialists: Pentland Brands chairman Andy Rubin; Broman Group chief executive Harri Broman; IMD Global Family Business Center co-director Prof Denise Kenyon-Rouvinez; Prof Alfredo De Massis; chairman in Entrepreneurship and Family Business at Lancaster University Management School and director of the school's Centre for Family Business,plus CampdenFB editor Nicholas Moody, who also hosted on the night.
Moody said the calibre of the finalists made judging particularly difficult this year.
“There were some fascinating examples of exemplary entrepreneurship in this year’s nominees, both within existing business and in new businesses. It was particularly encouraging to see so many quality female next-generation finalists,” he said.
CampdenFB, the leading global magazine for family businesses with revenues of more than €100 million, received nominations for award recipients from more than a dozen countries.
SGPB head Jean-François Mazaud, who presented the evening’s awards, underlined Societe Generale’s commitment to the family business sector.
“Family businesses are the foundation on which the wider European economy is built, playing a huge role in the delivery of job creation, social cohesion and innovation,” Mazaud said.
“Congratulations to all winners, whose values contribute so much to their local communities and to our wider society.”
CampdenFB thanks major sponsor Societe Generale Private Banking, as well as the exemplary panel of judges.
The 2018 European Families in Business Award winners are:
Top Family Business of the Year
Musgrave Group—Musgrave family (Ireland)
Top Family Business Leader of the Year
Matthieu Leclercq—Decathlon Group (France)
and Gabriel Escarrer Jaume—Melia Hotels International (Spain)
Top Family Business Rising Star
Lydia Forte—Rocco Forte Hotels (United Kingdom)
Top Next-Generation Entrepreneur Award
Sole Ferragamo—SO-LE Studio (United Kingdom/Italy)
Top Non-Family Director of the Year
Pablo Isla—Inditex (Spain)
Top Sustainable Family Business of the Year
MANE—Mane family (France)