Han­dels­blatt Hall of Fa­me: The fa­mi­ly se­cret be­hind Ger­ma­ny‘s eco­no­my.

Handelsblatt Global Edition Magazine - - Table Of Contents -

At the eighth an­nu­al Han­dels­blatt Fa­mi­ly Com­pa­nies Hall of Fa­me awards, th­ree of Ger­ma­ny’s most suc­cess­ful fa­mi­ly-ow­ned com­pa­nies ta­ke ho­me top ho­nors

Ger­ma­ny’s fa­mi­ly-ow­ned com­pa­nies form the back­bone of the coun­try’s eco­no­my. Of­ten tu­cked away in small towns and litt­le known to outs­iders, ma­ny of the­se“hid­den cham­pi­ons” are glo­bal le­a­ders in their re­spec­tive in­dus­tries.

The Han­dels­blatt Fa­mi­ly Com­pa­nies Hall of Fa­me has be­en re­co­gni­zing Ger­ma­ny’s best fa­mi­ly com­pa­nies sin­ce 2009. At the an­nu­al award ce­re­mo­ny in Mu­nich this ye­ar, th­ree of the coun­try’s most suc­cess­ful fa­mi­ly-ow­ned com­pa­nies took ho­me top ho­nors.

Senn­hei­ser is known to au­dio­phi­les the world over for its high-end head­pho­nes. When CEO Jörg Senn­hei­ser took over the com­pa­ny from his fa­ther, he had to fight the fa­mi­ly pa­tri­arch to let him build an in­ter­na­tio­nal distribution net­work in the 1980s. That tur­ned out to be the key to ex­plo­si­ve growth. To­day, for­eign sa­les ge­ne­ra­te 85 per­cent of Senn­hei­ser’s €635 mil­li­on an­nu­al re­ve­nues. Though it is a glo­bal com­pa­ny to­day, Senn­hei­ser is still ba­sed in the fa­mi­ly vil­la­ge outs­ide Ha­no­ver.

Even mo­re than Senn­hei­ser, Trumpf stands for Ger­man in­dus­tri­al high tech. Al­most in­vi­si­ble to an­yo­ne outs­ide the world of ma­nu­fac­tu­ring tech­no­lo­gy, the fa­mi­ly-run firm has be­en a world lea­der in in­dus­tri­al la­ser tech­no­lo­gy for over a ge­ne­ra­ti­on. It has quiet­ly built an in­dus­tri­al em­pi­re, with an­nu­al sa­les of al­most €3 bil­li­on. It al­so stands for a suc­cess­ful fa­mi­ly tran­si­ti­on. Ni­co­la Lei­bin­gerKam­mül­ler, the daugh­ter of long-ti­me ow­ner and CEO Bert­hold Lei­bin­ger, has be­en at the helm of the com­pa­ny sin­ce 2005, whe­re she’s dri­ven Trumpf ’s fur­ther ex­pan­si­on.

Roland Mack has al­so found his spe­cial mar­ket ni­che and ta­ken it to the next le­vel. His com­pa­ny, Mack Ri­des, builds rol­ler co­as­ters and ri­des for amu­se­ment parks from the U.S. to Chi­na. For his ne­west mo­dels, he’s ex­pe­ri­men­ting with vir­tu­al-reality glas­ses who­se ef­fects match the ri­de’s every mo­ve­ment. Mack al­so ope­ra­tes Eu­ro­pa-Park, Ger­ma­ny’s lar­gest amu­se­ment park, which dou­bles as a tes­ting ground for new rol­ler­co­as­ter mo­dels and draws 5 mil­li­on vi­si­tors a ye­ar.

Li­ke ma­ny of Ger­ma­ny’s high­ly spe­cia­li­zed, mid-si­zed com­pa­nies, Mack Ri­des draws on old fa­mi­ly tra­di­ti­ons. Mack fa­mi­ly roots in crafts­manship go back to the 1780s, when an an­ces­tor in the vil­la­ge of Wald­kirch ne­ar Frei­burg be­gan to build hor­se-drawn car­ria­ges. The fa­mi­ly bu­si­ness has had to re­invent its­elf ma­ny ti­mes sin­ce then. That kind of ca­pa­ci­ty for re­inven­ti­on is a good mo­del to fol­low — in Ger­ma­ny and bey­ond.

Jörg Senn­hei­ser has tur­ned au­dio­phi­le head­pho­nes in­to a €635 mil­li­on com­pa­ny.



Ni­co­la Lei­bin­ger-Kam­mül­ler pro­du­ces cut­ting-edge la­ser tech­no­lo­gy used in fac­to­ries around the world.

Roland Mack builds rol­ler­co­as­ters and tests them in his own amu­se­ment park.

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