Who are the top father & son businesses?
In the business world, it is common for a father to pass control of their company to their son. In some cases, a father and son will even work together to build a company. Regardless of how a father/son business comes about, there are lots of success stories out there worth looking at. So, for this week’s Business Leader Top 12, we took a look at the best father/son businesses.
R J Balson and Son
Reportedly Britain’s oldest family butchers, dating back to 1535, R J Balson and Son deal in the highest quality meat, poultry and game, and make their own range of speciality foods, whilst offering an old-fashioned service. Located in Bridport, Dorset, the firm is a member of the exclusive Tercentenarian Club, which is strictly for businesses that are more than 300 years old and owned by the same family that started the business.
Its current Master Butchers are Richard Balson and brother-in-law Rudi Boulay, both of whom were trained by Richard’s father, Donald.
For more than 30 years, HiB has been a major supplier to over 4,000 UK and Irish bathroom retailers and is a highly renowned mirror, cabinet, lighting and furniture brand. Since HiB was established by Chairman Warren Ginsberg in the 1990s, it has grown revenue to over £35m, with sites in London, Dublin and a 85,000 Sq.ft distribution centre near Tamworth. The business, now led by Warren’s son, Robert as Managing Director, has a reputation for product innovation, which was recently recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
The US multinational manufacturer of household cleaning supplies S. C. Johnson & Son Inc. was founded in 1886 by Samuel Curtis Johnson Sr. Since that time, the cleaning products giant – famous for brands like Glade, Mr. Muscle and Toilet Duck – has been passed down from father to son. Now in its fifth-generation, Herbert Fisk Johnson III currently operates as Chairman and CEO and the company has estimated revenues of $10.5 billion.
Founded in 1932 by Berko and Minnie Rubin as the Liverpool Shoe Company, the Pentland Group has been led by the couple’s son, Stephen Rubin, since 1969 following the death of father Berko. Today, Pentland is known for being the majority shareholder of JD Sports; the owner of various fashion brands, such as Speedo, Berghaus, Ellesse and Mitre; and the UK footwear licensee for Kickers. Pentland previously floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1964 and 1989 but returned to a 100% family-held operation in 1999.
RH Amar, the High Wycombe-based fine food importer and distributor, was founded in 1945 by Raoul Amar and ownership of the company has stayed in the family ever since. Henry took over after Raoul passed away in 1983, whilst Henry’s eldest son, Rob, is in charge today. Describing themselves as a full-service importer and distributor, RH Amar offers it clients a wide range of services, including sales and marketing, logistics, IT solutions and more, whilst their portfolio consists of more than 40 fine food brands.
Looking at Indian food giant Bikanervala today, it’s hard to believe it started out as a small tuck shop in Delhi in the early 1950s. Today, the company provides a diverse range of food products from more than 100 outlets spread across six countries and generates revenues of $400 million a year. Led by Manish Aggarwal, the company is in its third generation of father-son ownership, having been founded by Lala Kedarnath Aggarwal and previously led by Manish’s father, Shyam Sundar Aggarwal.
Birmingham-based healthy drink manufacturer Vibez Drinks was founded by father and son team Ivor and Eugene Patterson. Their recipes are directly inspired by the family’s Jamaican roots, and the pandemic led the father-son duo to create something that could deliver a positive message and resonate with people, whilst also providing health benefits to create a healthy body and mind. Thus, their 100% natural, sugar-free drink range was born.
US telecoms conglomerate Comcast is the parent of Sky Group and NBCUniversal and the second-largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue. Founded by Ralph Roberts as American Cable Systems, a corporate spin off from Jerrold Electronics, in 1963, Ralph’s son, Brian currently serves as the company’s CEO and Chairman. When Ralph became President of the company in 1990 aged 31, its annual revenue was $657 million, but in 2021, revenues had risen to an incredible $116.39 billion.
First established in 1911 by Harry Williams, multi-award-winning sports car dealer Williams Automobiles is now in its fourth-generation of ownership, having been passed down from Clifford to Richard to current Director, Henry. Based in Little Sodbury End, near Bristol, Henry has transformed the company from a volume group to a specialist sports car retailer that supplies models from Morgan, Lotus and Caterham and turns over £5 million a year.
European Metal Recycling (EMR)
The origins of global scrap metal firm European Metal Recycling (EMR) date back to the 1950s, when Winifred Sheppard left London for Rochdale and founded Sheppards Waste Recovery Service. After becoming the Sheppards Group, the company acquired Coopers Metals in 1994 whilst led by Phillip Sheppard and became European Metal Recycling. Today, Phillip’s son, Chris leads the Warrington-headquartered firm, which is now a multi-national corporation that reported a turnover of more than £2.2bn in 2016.
George Weston Limited
George Weston Limited is a Canadian food processing and distribution company that was founded in 1882 by George Weston. In 2019, the Weston family was ranked the third wealthiest in Canada, and when Galen G. Weston took over from his father to become CEO in 2017, he took George Weston into its fourth-generation of family ownership. The owner of Canada’s largest supermarket retailer, Loblaw Companies Limited, George Weston has more than 140,000 employees and turned over $42.88 billion (£35.52bn) in 2021.
Founded in 1975 by Sir Peter Rigby, the Rigby Group is a multi-national, service-based holding company headquartered in Stratford-upon-Avon. Sir Peter remains Chairman of the private enterprise that has revenues of more than £2.8 billion and employs more than 8,500 people, but his two sons, Steve and James, are the current Co-CEOs of the company. Steve heads up Financial Services and Real Estate, whilst James is also the CEO of one of the largest privately-owned tech companies in Europe, SCC.