Keeping it in the Family – Some of the World’s Most Successful Family Businesses

Family businesses aren’t just corner drugstores or plumbing businesses. Some of the world’s most recognizable names and brands have been family-operated from the very start. Sam Walton, Henry Ford, Alex F. Bouri, and Frank Mars are just a few people that have given their heirs a company that they could happily call a legacy.


Chances are if you’ve ever done shopping of any kind, you’ve stepped into a Wal-Mart at least once in your life. While there have been controversies over the company’s treatment of its workers and its effect on local and global economies, one cannot discount the impact that Sam Walton’s company has had since he opened the first store in 1962. Currently, Sam’s son Rob Walton acts as chairman on the board of directors and each of Mr. Walton’s children top the annual list of richest people in the world.


The largest cable provider in the United States, Comcast has its roots in the early days of television. Co-founded in 1963 by Ralph Roberts, Daniel Aaron, and Julian Brodsky as American Cable Systems, the Philadelphia-based company reported revenue of more than 64 billion dollars in 2013. Currently, Ralph Roberts’ son, Brian, runs the company.


You may not be familiar with the name, but Seament is secretly one of the most influential companies in the world. Dealing in cement trading, Seament was started in Nigeria by Alex F. Bouri. Boosted by innovations such as the floating cement terminal, Seament managed to build itself into one of the most respected companies in the industry, with the Bouri family still managing operations.


If you’ve ever gone trick or treating before, you’re plenty familiar with the name Mars. You may have thought that the candy giant behind M&Ms and Snickers was named after the red planet, but it’s actually named for its founder, Frank C. Mars. What started out as a homemade candy company in Washington became a booming business that currently employs 65,000 people. The board of directors is made up of Mars family members.


Henry Ford is the grandfather of modern industry. Without his innovation, who knows where we would be today. In the early days of the 20th century, Henry Ford catapulted Ford Motor Company to the top of car manufacturing by creating the assembly line, which not only made cars easier to produce, but more affordable for middle-class consumers. The company has been in control of the Ford family since the very beginning and has survived the Great Depression and the most recent near-collapse of the auto industry.

Family businesses come in all shapes and sizes. You may only think of small operations, but some of them are the most popular companies in the world.


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