- IMD Business School
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Pentland Group plc awarded the 2017 IMD Global Family Business Award

Pentland Group plc, a family firm first established in Liverpool and now headquartered in London, was awarded the 22nd annual IMD Global Family Business Award at the 28th Summit of the Family Business Network International (FBN-I) in Gran Canaria, Spain.
November 2017

Awarded by IMD, a top-ranked global business school, this prize is regarded as the most prestigious for successful global family businesses. The award recognizes firms that are exemplary in uniting family interests with those of the business and in combining tradition and innovation while demonstrating clear corporate social responsibility.

“Pentland Group plc is an outstanding organization that has for decades successfully blended an enduring venturing and entrepreneurial spirit with a strong commitment to sustainability, human rights and environment throughout its value chain,” observed IMD President Jean-François Manzoni. “It is a flagbearer for family business excellence that operates according to the very best practices and offers inspiration to its peers. Pentland Group plc is a most worthy recipient of this year’s prize.”

Pentland Group plc, a second- and third-generation family enterprise, started in 1932 as a shoe distributor and manufacturer. It later diversified into other businesses, only to ultimately re-focus and become a “family of brands” in the sports and fashion industries. Pentland is the owner of brands such as Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury, Boxfresh, Ellesse, KangaROOS and Mitre. The global brand management company is headquartered in London, UK. Owned by just six family members, it employs over 20,500 people worldwide and generates about £2.9 billion in sales.

IMD recognized Pentland Group plc for its commitment to sustainability, ethical trade, human rights, outstanding contributions to combating modern day slavery as well as its skill in regenerating itself through innovation and entrepreneurial venturing.

“Receiving this prestigious global award is the culmination of many decades of evolving as a family business and being supported by great teams and partners.” commented Andy Rubin, third generation family shareholder and chairman of Pentland Brands – the brand management division of the group. “To be recognized externally is a great validation of what we do. It helps us – as a private family business – to see that we benchmark with the very best. We are constantly learning and evolving and are passionate about our people, our brands, our customers and being good corporate citizens.”

For Pentland Group plc, the IMD Global Family Business Award is the first global recognition of its achievements. It had been recognized previously on a local and regional scale as the 2008 Best Family Business in the UK (based on business success, family governance and CSR) by the Institute for Family Business. In 2014, Pentland was awarded European Family Business of the Year by Campden and this year the UK Family Business of Excellence by the 2017 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Pentland Group has also won five Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – one of the most prestigious UK awards for business performance. In 2016, the Great Place to Work Institute named Pentland Brands as one Best Workplaces in the UK and in Europe.

This year, the IMD Global Family Business Award celebrates its 22nd anniversary and pays tribute to a long list of prestigious recipients. Previous winners include world-class companies such as LEGO, Ayala Corporation, S.C. Johnson, Hermès, Barilla, Yazaki Corporation, Merck, Firmenich, Bel Group, Bavaria and most recently Jebsen & Jessen Family Enterprise.

All these successful family businesses serve as a reminder that family business ownership model remains the most widespread in the world. As major sources of revenue, jobs and tax contributions, family businesses are key players in the economic system and serve as models for long-term growth, profitability, stability and survival through periods of crisis.

The award trophy is fashioned out of crystal and bears the shape of a tree – a symbol of family businesses. It was generously donated by the Scheufele family from Chopard and was crafted in Geneva.

About the Winner

Building a family of brands for the world to love, generation after generation
Pentland Group plc is a family-owned global company operating in the areas of sports, fashion and outdoor clothing and equipment through three divisions. Its core business, Pentland Brands, manages a portfolio of owned brands including Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury, Mitre and KangaROOS; Lacoste and Ted Baker as licensed brands for global footwear, and Kickers as a licensed brand for the UK. It is guided by a single purpose: “Building a family of brands for the world to love, generation after generation.” The retail division comprises JD Sports Fashion, a chain of over 1,300 retail shops, in which Pentland Group is a majority but non-controlling shareholder. The Investment Division supports group diversification by investing in new ventures or partnering with start-ups with a mandate to learn from entrepreneurs and innovate.

Pentland Group is headquartered in London, but 80% of its sales – which totaled £2.9 billion in 2016 – come from 190 countries worldwide across online channels, with the remainder from the UK. Pentland Group employs over 20,500 people, of which over 2,000 work for its core business, Pentland Brands.

Regeneration via entrepreneurial venturing
Pentland Group’s roots can be traced back to 1932, when Berko and Minnie Rubin – immigrants from Eastern Europe – set up the Liverpool Shoe Company, a small fashion footwear business. The two generations that followed expanded the business into a diversified portfolio of businesses, pioneered the outsourcing from Asia and then developed a portfolio of owned sports and fashion brands thanks to an investment in Reebok that yielded a 10,000-fold return within 10 years. In 1999 the Rubin family withdrew Pentland from the London Stock Exchange where the firm had been listed for 35 years.

Fair trade and combatting modern slavery Pentland
Group set the industry standards for fair trade and sustainability when Stephen Rubin served as World Chairman of the Textile Institute and President of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry. “We made a phenomenal difference to eliminating child labor in India and Pakistan.” said Stephen Rubin. Corporate responsibility is an inherent part of Pentland Group’s business culture and model: it publishes the Corporate Responsibility Review, sponsors the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business at the Lancaster University and in 2017 published its first Modern Slavery Report.

About the Award and Award Partners

IMD business school developed the highly acclaimed and prestigious Global Family Business Award – initiated in 1996 – to annually recognize an outstanding company that has successfully blended family and business interests. The aim of the award, which provides a unique platform for sharing best practices and analyzing the economic backdrop, is to promote family businesses by highlighting the exceptionally high standards they are capable of and the many forms they may take. In 1999, the Scheufele Family from Chopard joined forces with IMD, and has since contributed the beautifully crafted trophy.