2015 Leadership Award Winner: Marc Puig of Barcelona, Spain

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May 2015
PUIG Chairman and CEO since 2003, Marc Puig, accepted the 2015 Kellogg Center for Family Enterprise's Family Enterprise Leadership Award in front of an audience of alumni, students, business leaders, other practitioners and faculty at the Allen Center on the Northwestern University campus.

Founded over 100 years ago, PUIG's luxury fashion and fragrance brands include Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne, Carolina Herrera, Valentino, and John Paul Gaultier and are sold in approximately 140 countries worldwide.

In bestowing the award, Ivan Lansberg of Kellogg's Center for Family Enterprises, credited Puig with making leadership decisions that substantially narrowed the focus of the family business and positioned PUIG for success for the future generation. Lansberg continued, "Three pillars were implemented at PUIG under Marc's leadership: Passion, People and Performance."

Growth, Distraction, Focus

In his remarks, Puig shared that while PUIG is the sixth largest prestige brand company in the world, it also competes with much larger companies in some segments - a situation that created unique challenges for growth. In the 1990s, the company grew a broad portfolio, but sales were flat. According to Mr. Puig, "The problem was distraction. The company was so worried about failure that it was not taking risks."

The solution was for PUIG to refocus on what it excels at: building brands.

An important part of that strategy was to develop a clear mission, a focused strategy, and a value system that enabled them to attract and retain talented people.

The Family Business Paradox

Mr. Puig discussed how to make the two systems in the family business function effectively - balancing the inherent equality within a family structure with the hierarchical imperatives of a business operation.

In order to allow talented non-family managers to thrive, Puig further addressed this paradox limiting the power of the family through "self-disempowerment".

As a result, there are more non-family members on their board, the compensation committee is comprised of 100% non-family members and Puig envisions that future CEOs of PUIG will be non-family.

Mr. Puig believes that 90% of businesses worldwide are family businesses because being part of one goes beyond an individual's personal existence. It is more than just owning assets or making money. It is how the family value system is ingrained in the company for both present and future.