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Family Businesses Deserve Bigger Champions

24 February 2016

Recently, School for CEOs co-hosted a seminar with PwC in Edinburgh.  The seminar addressed a number of topical themes, including succession planning for private businesses, how to stay relevant in an ever-changing market and the impact of technology.

Guest speaker Jonathan Warburton, Chairman of Warburtons ltd and member of School for CEOs' Advisory Board and Faculty, was joined by David Sole OBE, Partner at School for CEOs and Martin Cowie, Partner at PwC to form a panel for interview.

Following the seminar, the panelists shared their view on the role of family businesses in the wider economy.  Their thoughts are published in The Herald, available to view below, or by following this link.


Family businesses deserve bigger champions

Championing the UK’s family businesses should be a cornerstone of economic policy, the chairman of fifth generation bakers Warburtons has told business owners in Edinburgh.

Jonathan Warburton, who in 11 years as chairman has seen turnover grow by 60 per cent to £500million, said: “Britain could do with more high-quality family businesses that have a long-term perspective on the world, rather than the plc model which possibly tends to shorter-term decisions that are not good for the future.”

The government, he said, should be “creating an environment where they are seen as a huge positive” to the economy, as happened in other countries such as Germany.

Mr Warburton is an adviser to the School for CEOs, which with PwC was staging an event for over 30 private business leaders at the adviser’s Edinburgh offices.

Martin Cowie, PwC’s private business leader in Scotland, said: “Scotland has a dwindling number of listed entities, family businesses are by far the largest employer.” Yet governments “tend to take family businesses for granted”.

David Sole, the former rugby internationalist and School for CEOs Partner, said the session showed that smaller businesses needed help in areas such as infrastructure and human resources. “Smaller businesses don’t have things that can help them plan and develop, and that’s where an organisation like ours can sometimes fit in.”

Mr Warburton is currently appearing in a cameo role in TV ads with the Muppets and Sylvester Stallone, and said the campaign had boosted crumpet sales by 25 per cent. “It is all about how do we make our brand famous.”

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