The economic crisis has revealed the advantages of family capitalism, of which the CMA CGM Group founded by Jacques R. Saadé is a fine example.
The strength of these companies lies mainly in their stability in even the worst crises. While some of them may have been set back (even fallen behind) in the 1970s, in those troubled times they recovered because
« In a family business,” confirms Christine Blondel and Anne Dumas, “the shareholders are identified and not anonymous, and the handing down from generation to generation helps keep alive memories of outstanding personalities. »
Unlike companies that have been bought out by the big groups, where people are interchangeable and governance sometimes obscure, the company is an asset worth preserving and passing on. Where some only see profitability, the other is keen to preserve the company and develop a vision for the long term. As Aymeric Dewille writes:
« Indeed, while companies owned by volatile even opportunist shareholders are often run taking the short-term profitability option, family-owned companies tend to look further into the future, because the owners identify themselves with the company and its longevity. »
At the height of the crisis in 2009 the shipping transport was severely affected. Attached to human values that underpin the governance model of family-run companies, Jacques Saadé was opposed to breaking up the Group. Supported by his son, Rodolphe Saadé, and daughter Tanya Saadé, he knew the container transport sector would rebound. This also led him to invest, notably in building the Group’s first three 16,000 teu vessels.
The facts prove that he was right: in 2013 the CMA CGM Group, now profitable again, posted the best results in the industry. (It’s also interesting to note that it was another family-run company, the Yildirim Group that had faith in Jacques Saadé.)
« The family-run company may not necessarily be called upon to save capitalism, but one thing is true, the family spirit can save companies. In a changing economic world where nothing can be taken for granted, it is already a fine performance. »
You can read the full article (in French) by Aymeric Dewimille on Le Cercle – Les Echos: http://lecercle.lesechos.fr/economie-societe/politique-eco-conjoncture/autres/221137144/capitalisme-familial-modele-traverse-cri