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Bringing the family business community together

The World's Largest Family Firms

17th August 2017 Paul Andrews

Using the data compiled from the University of St. Gallen Global Family Business Index, check out the largest family businesses in the world.

At Family Business United we spend a lot of effort celebrating the contribution that family firms make to the global economy and to dispelling the myths around family firms.  One such myth is that family firms are small and insignifiant operations.  Take a look at the ten largest family firms in the world in the list below and you may be surprised to see some of the global, iconic brands in the list.  They generate significant revenues and employ large nuumbers of people and their contribution to national and regional economies should not be under estimated.

Using the data from the recent University of St. Gallen Global Family Business Index compiled in association with the EY Global Family Business Centre of Excellence, where families control in excess of the voting shares in the firms listed, even though many of them are now publicly listed companies, the top ten family firms in the world collectively generate $1,710 billions of turnover and employ 4,552,765 people.  

The Largest Family Firms In The World

  1. Wal-Mart Stores Inc 
    Walton family, USA, Founded in 1962.
    Operates in the consumer products and retail sector, turnover $485.7 billion and has 2,200,000 employees

  2. Volkswagen AG
    Porsche and Piech families, Germany, Founded in 1937
    Operates in the automotive and transportation sector, turnover $231.7 billion and has 591,425 employees

  3. Berkshire Hathaway Inc
    Buffett family, USA, Founded in 1955
    Operates across diversified industrial products, turnover $199.9 billion and has 361,270 employees

  4. Ford Motor Company
    Ford family, USA, Founded in 1903
    Operates in the automotive and transportation sector, turnover $149.6 billion and has 199,000 employees

  5. EXOR SpA
    Agnelli family, Italy, Founded in 1927
    Operates in the automotive and transportation sector, turnover $148.0 billion and has 303,247 employees

  6. Cargill Incorporated
    Cargill family, USA, Founded in 1865
    Operates in the consumer products and retail sector, turnover $120.4 billion and has 153,000 employees

  7. BMW
    Quandt family, Germany, Founded in 1916
    Operates in the automotive and transportation sector, turnover $100.1 billion and has 122,244 employees

  8. Koch Industries Inc
    Koch family, USA, Founded in 1940
    Operates in the oil and gas sector, turnover $100.0 billion and has 100,000 employees

  9. Schwarz Group
    Schwarz family, Germany, Founded in 1930
    Operates in the consumer products and retail sector, turnover $93.1 billion and has 360,000 employees

  10. ALDI Group
    Albrecht family, Germany, Founded in 1913
    Operates in the consumer products and retail sector, turnover $82.2 billion and has 162,579 employees

As Paul Andrews, founder of Family Business United concludes, "These businesses are global powers and represent the largest family firms in the world and they are clearly making a difference in many respects; GDP generation, taxation, employment and in addition, make a mark on the lives of their employees and communities around the world too.  They are great ambassadors for the family business sector and by creating a global index of family firms, data like this really does help to put the family business sector on the map too."

Check out the Top 500 family businesses in the world in the full listing of the University of St. Gallen Global Family Business Index here

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