Viva, Spain: Family Companies of Barcelona Give New Development Patterns and Help to Avoid Mistakes

22.09.2018

The 7th International Tour of FBN Ukraine (September 12-15) in Barcelona gathered 53 participants. It turned out to be ultimately rich in bright meetings with Spanish family companies, discussions about family behavior patterns by the change of generations and the difficulties in doing business that sometimes arise then.

The traditional “Circle of Confidence” on September 12 at the luxury Majestic Hotel allowed us to meet new members and share important news. The hotel has belonged to the family Soldevila-Casals for three generations now. The meeting with the CEO of Malco Par Company revealed many kittle issues in managing business and intra-family solutions. The owners of Ukrainian family companies looked at the history of this family through the eyes of a hired manager who deeply understands the family values ​​ and is ready to be sensitive.

On September 13, we were hosted by the Mango Corporation, one of the leaders of the fashion industry operating in 109 countries. The new company’s design center and the logistics one are impressive, and the analysis of the problems the family company led by the legendary Isaak Andik is currently solving, allowed each guest to test fit the solution patterns.

The conversation about Mango continued within the walls of one of the world best Barcelona business school IESE. Professor Joan Enric Ricart analysed the company’s case from the date of establishment, through years of maximum success to today’s new solutions and challenges. In addition, Professor Elena Revutskaya delivered us the impressive lecture on the behavior of the “Nudge Concept” customers.

The conversation about Mango continued within the walls of one of the world best Barcelona business school IESE. Professor Joan Enric Ricart analysed the company’s case from the date of establishment, through years of maximum success to today’s new solutions and challenges. In addition, Professor Elena Revutskaya delivered us the impressive lecture on the behavior of the “Nudge Concept” customers
September 14 started from communication with a lovely family company – the pharmaceutical concern Uriach. Hospitable Joaquin Uriach, a representative of the fifth generation of the family and the president of the board in ESADE business school, talked about the history of the company and the important decisions that the family took over 180 years, in order to manage this business successfully. The library was the highlight of the tour about the company bearing in mind that several generations of the family collected ancient books on medicine.

Another meeting of the day – the corporation Cobega, the largest in Europe Coca-Cola bottler. We met with Alfonso Libano, a representative of the third generation and the main owner of the corporation; we learned how the family of the teacher Libano, Alfonso’s grandfather, had been able to build such a large-scale business. Finally, we tasted new beverages that Cobega is puting into production.

In the evening in the Catalonian palace of music, we could enjoy the “Grand Flamenco Show” and feel thoroughly the genetic code of Spain.

On the last day of the event, we came to the oldest winery in Catalonia, Codorniu. This is the family enterprise, the history of which started in 1551. The company is still managed by the family members and we were able to communicate with one of the owners, Maria Del Mar, a representative of the 18th generation. The Codorniu wine cellars strike with their immensity. Equally striking is the scale of the family, in which more than 600 relatives have to be able to agree on the future of their company.

This day another important meeting took place – the ex-mayor of Barcelona Jordi Ereu took the floor with an energetic presentation about the changes in the city over the past 50 years and the need to regard a modern city as a set of development projects.

At the end of the day, the family jewelry company Tous received us. The creators of the brand and business Salvador Tous and Rosa Oriol are still involved in the company’s activities, although one of their four daughters is already the president now, and two other head the company’s departments. Tous is rapidly developing its network; they have opened 280 new stores in dozens of countries over the last three years. In addition, the company is actively cooperating with the Swiss investment fund, which bought out 25 percent of the family’s shares.

This event, perhaps, set a record speaking of the program’s richness – we wanted to see and hear everything, and the bus pauses were filled with a stormy discussion of the lessons learned. That was the jubilee 30th event of the Ukrainian Chapter FBN, and at a farewell dinner, the president of our association Vladislav Burda awarded a number of families special FBN Ukraine certificate appreciations.