2016 Leadership Award Winner: The Milliken Family of Milliken & Company and Pacolet Milliken

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May 2016
Roger Milliken Jr, director of Milliken & Company and 4th generation family member accepted the 2016 Kellogg Family Enterprise Leadership Award on behalf of the Milliken Family. A global audience of 170 family business alumni, students, business leaders, other practitioners and faculty at the Allen Center on the Northwestern University campus attended the event.

Milliken & Company is a global innovation leader in textiles and chemicals founded in 1865. The company has more than 7,000 employees in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and its products are sold in two-thirds of the world's countries. Since the founding, Milliken has accumulated over 5,000 patents worldwide.

Roger's presentation was entitled The Long Arc to Inclusion: Tales from a 4th Generation Family Business that, in addition to a glimpse of the Company's rich history, included real-life insights into the complexity of family business governance during generational transition as Milliken moved from a strong G3 leader to a collaboration of 25 shareholders in G4 and 45 current shareholders in G5.

In bestowing the award, Ivan Lansberg of Kellogg's Center for Family Enterprises, noted that "From a leadership standpoint, this remarkable transition did not happen by magic. The fact is that the family took it upon themselves to accept influence (both familial, organizational influence) so what needed to be done got done and the system could self-organize."

This strategy, along with Milliken's stated corporate values of "Ethics, Excellence and Leadership" has enabled Milliken & Company to flourish as they expand globally. The sharing of their process served as a powerful learning tool for business families represented in the audience who aspire to continuity of their enterprises across generations.