The 9th edition of the Family Business Management program had Pedro José de Mello, Executive Director at José de Mello, as guest, on May 31. This executive talk included a presentation about the illustrious Portuguese family group and the clarification of some doubts about the day-to-day life in a company of this nature.
"Family, property, and business are different things," he stated during the session. If anyone knows this, it is Pedro José Mello, one of the 12 brothers who are heirs of the José de Mello group, which today includes several well-known companies, such as CUF, Brisa, and Efacec Power Solutions. The secret to keeping peace in the family business? Unity, above all.
"Creating a valid economic group can only be achieved with a spirit of mission, a lot of humility, with total determination, and unity of purpose. If you succeed, you can believe that it is extremely rewarding," he stressed, adding that values, transparency, communication, professionalism, and "never taking family issues into the company" are essential to maintain the success of any business.
Pedro José de Mello also told the group's history, which dates back to the birth of CUF, in 1865, erected by his great-grandfather Alfredo da Silva. The group was fully nationalized in 1975 and, "in the mid 90's, my father called his 12 children and started to design what he first called a 'strategic board'".
Currently, the group has more than 50 shareholders, and all family members hold shares in the group, but not all hold positions in the companies. For this, the policy is very strict: "If a family member wants to work in the group, they have to be available for work cycles, they have to work outside, and we are only interested in management positions with the potential to become CEO.
The lessons of one of the most successful family groups in Portugal can serve as an example to managers and leaders of companies of this type, which, by their nature, have competitive advantages that organizations without family influence can hardly replicate.
"The José de Mello Family is a paradigmatic case of entrepreneurial families that invest in family governance to ensure multigenerational success. Talent, growth, and unity are the keys to this success," said Alexandre Dias da Cunha, Scientific Coordinator of the Family Business Management program.
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