Family businesses are the pillars of the German economy. But here in the executive suite when it comes to equality, things hardly look any better than with DAX corporations. At the end of 2018, the “Die deutsche Wirtschaft” platform recounted and determined: Of the 1000 family businesses with the highest turnover in the country, only 49 had a woman in a top management position.
Family business rarely with a boss
“In other words: In only 4.9 percent of the companies there are women in the top positions of the first managing director or CEO – that is an unflattering number for the large family businesses”, the authors attested. We introduce some of the female bosses who generate billions in sales, who run a world market leader or who are now in the ninth generation of the family tradition.
The pharmaceutical company B. Braun Melsungen AG is managed in the sixth generation by Anna Maria Braun. She took over the chairmanship of the board in April 2019 from Heinz-Walter Große, who is retiring. The lawyer is the daughter of the chairman of the supervisory board, Ludwig Georg Braun. After completing her second state examination and a Master of Laws at Georgetown University, she worked as a business lawyer in Düsseldorf for two years. She joined the family business in 2009 and was President of the Asia / Pacific region. B. Braun claims to be one of the leading manufacturers of medical technology and pharmaceutical products as well as pharmaceutical services worldwide. At the end of 2019, it employed almost 65,000 people worldwide, around 16,000 of them in Germany. According to the balance sheet, sales in 2019 rose by 8.2 percent to 7.5 billion euros.
@imago images / Lars Berg
Bauer Media Group
Yvonne Bauer is now in the fifth generation to manage the Bauer Media Group. She has been at the helm of Europe’s largest magazine publisher since 2010. In June 2020 “Forbes” ranked her ninth among the richest women in Germany and put her assets at 2.3 billion US dollars. The 43-year-old daughter of Heinz Heinrich Bauer at the time of the publication of the ranking list belongs, according to Forbes, to 85 percent of the publishing group founded in 1875 with headquarters in Hamburg.
@imago images / Apress
At one of the largest German breweries, too, a female boss is continuing the family tradition. The Warsteiner Haus Cramer brewery was founded in 1753 by Antonius Cramer. The management of the private brewery in Warstein, North Rhine-Westphalia is in the ninth generation of Catharina Cramer (middle). The Warsteiner Group includes the Herford brewery and the Paderborn brewery. The company, which is strongly oriented towards export, claims to produce more than two million hectoliters of beer per year. According to official information, sales were most recently around 400 million euros.
The Munich bookstore Heinrich Hugendubel GmbH & Co. KG was founded in 1893 by the namesake. Since 2003 the siblings Nina and Maximilian Hugendubel have been sharing the management of the company as managing partners in the fifth generation. Nina Hugendubel learned the job from scratch and, in addition to studying politics, philosophy and economics, completed an apprenticeship in bookselling. According to the company biography, she worked for Time Warner in New York and Holtzbrinck in Munich and Stuttgart. According to its own information, Hugendubel is one of the largest owner-managed book retailers in Germany and employs around 1,700 people nationwide. In addition to the more than 150 branches, the online presence eBook.de also belongs to Hugendubel.
@imago images / Steinach
Hellweg Die Profi-Baumärkte GmbH & Co. KG was founded in 1971 and is therefore a comparatively young family company. Official information on co-managing director Katharina Semer can only be found on the company website in the imprint. Semer heads the Dortmund-based company with Frank Jahn, Martin Jung and Oliver Stötzer. With a turnover of around one billion euros, Hellweg was ranked 253 in the “Top Family Businesses in Germany” ranking by Die deutsche Wirtschaft (as of September 29, 2020). According to a press release, Hellweg operates around 100 stores in Germany and Austria as well as around 50 DIY megastores with garden centers of the sister company BayWa Bau & Garten in southern Germany. One in ten of the approximately 4,000 employees is therefore a trainee. Incidentally, the company was named after the historic “Hellweg” trade route, which connected the most important cities in the Ruhr area.
Bauer Comp Holding GmbH specializes in high pressure and screw compressors. According to its own information, it holds a global market share of over 70 percent in breathing air systems, for example in the form of diving bottles or air locks on oil and gas platforms. Most recently, sales of over 300 million euros were reported. In 2012, Monika Bayat took over the Munich-based company from her father Heinz Bauer. She leads the group with her husband Philipp Bayat.