America’s largest family businesses

Who’s up, down, in and out: Our ranking of giant family enterprises returns.

By Jayne A. Pearl

After a hiatus of several years, Family Business brings back its ranking of U.S. family companies with multibillion-dollar revenues.

Our list returns at a time of great economic turmoil, with the country officially in a recession, plus the impending crisis in the auto industry, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the failure of Washington Mutual and the federal bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG, among other meltdowns. So it’s not surprising that only two companies retained their positions from 2003, the last time we ranked America’s largest family firms: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (1) and Ford Motor Co. (2). The other 98 companies on our list played a dramatic game of musical chairs.

The biggest gain was recorded by travel, hotel and restaurant operator Carlson Cos., which acquired Navigant International, a leading business travel firm, in 2006. Carlson jumped from No. 100 in 2003 to No. 5 on this edition of the list. The company’s revenue has grown from $1.88 billion to $37.1 billion, even amid family turmoil. In 2007 chairman Marilyn Carlson Nelson fired her son, Curtis, the former heir apparent; he responded with a lawsuit and a demand for a buyout, and his mother countersued. Early in 2008 Carlson Nelson turned the reins over to the company’s first non-family president/CEO, Hubert Joly.

Cumberland Farms made the second largest gain on our list of large family firms, leapfrogging from 111th place in 2003 to 44th on the current list. The biggest loser on the list is textile firm Milliken & Co., when slipped 39 places from No. 50 to No. 89. The U.S. textile industry, once a mainstay of the economy, has suffered from rising production prices and competition from overseas. The New York Times Co., which like other newspapers has struggled with declining ad revenues and competition from the Internet, dropped 21 spaces, from 55th to 76th. (The Washington Post Co., which derives significant income from its Kaplan test-preparation business, rose from 71st to 61st. Newspaper chain The McClatchy Co., which acquired Knight-Ridder Inc. in 2006, jumped from 139th in 2003 to 99th today.)

This year, we wave goodbye to 25 companies that were in the top 100 in 2003. Eight were acquired by a competitor or private equity concern: Neiman Marcus, Knight Ridder, Dollar General, Wrigley, Anheuser-Busch, Burlington Coat Factory, A.G. Edwards and Adolph Coors.

Chemical maker Huntsman Corp., No. 24 in 2003, planned to be acquired, initially by Dutch industrial company Basell and later by Hexion Specialty Chemicals, a unit of Apollo Management. In June 2008, Apollo and Hexion sued Huntsman, seeking to end the merger agreement because Huntsman’s earnings were lower and its debt higher than when the agreement was inked. Huntsman responded by suing Apollo and two of its founders, contending that Apollo made false promises when it persuaded Huntsman to abandon the Basell deal. On Sept. 30, 2008, a Delaware Chancery Court judge ordered Hexion to consummate the merger. The Wall Street Journal noted that funding remains an obstacle, but it seems likely that Huntsman will no longer be a family company.

American Greetings, McWane, Zachry Construction, ContiGroup, Connell Co., Ingram Industries and H Group Holding slipped off this year’s top 100 list owing to a drop in revenues. So did Alberto-Culver Co., which spun off its salon distribution business in 2006. (In September 2008, Alberto-Culver announced it would buy the rights to Procter & Gamble’s Noxzema skin care business.)

DeMoulas Super Markets, No. 98 in 2003, increased its revenues from $1.9 billion at that time to $2.2 billion but leaves our top 100 because other family firms had higher revenues. Grocery and pharmacy chain Winn-Dixie filed for bankruptcy in early 2005 and emerged the following year, closing 500 supermarkets. In the process, its revenue shrank from $12.46 billion in 2003 to $4.5 billion. The founding Davis family is no longer involved in ownership or management and is not represented on the board.

Viacom Inc., No. 6 on the 2003 list, is not included this year because it seems to be losing its status as a family company. In a July CNBC interview, chairman and controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone said his daughter, Shari, was no longer the heir apparent and that a deal had been reached in principle to buy out her interest in Viacom and in CBS (another part of his media empire that was part of Viacom until 2005). A spokesperson for Shari Redstone said there was “no final agreement.” In late October, Sumner Redstone sold $233 million worth of shares in Viacom and CBS to help back a $1.6 billion loan; the future of National Amusements, the family holding company, is uncertain. In 2007, Sumner Redstone settled a lawsuit filed by his son, Brent, by buying out Brent’s stake in National Amusements.

Although real estate developer Lefrak Organization likely belongs on the list, we did not include it in this edition because we could not find reliable information on which to base an update from the intensely private company’s sales in 2003, which we reported at $3.8 billion. Because many family enterprises closely guard their revenue figures, there are probably some other big firms missing from our list because we could not uncover the numbers.

Motorola also exits the list this year. The founder’s son, Chris Galvin, stepped down in 2003 after six years at the helm, leaving no family members managing the struggling telecom company. Activist shareholder Carl Icahn acquired a 6% stake and snagged seats on the board in 2008. A company spokesperson declined to comment on whether or not the Galvin family retains any ownership interest. Similarly, no family members retain ownership or top management slots at Springs Global, after the company merged with a Brazilian company and went public; or at Weyerhaeuser, No. 8 on the 2003 list. Alticor, No. 38 on the previous list, is not included this year because it is not controlled by one family.

We welcome 26 newcomers to the top 100, either because we inadvertently overlooked them in previous years or because a spike in revenues raised their standings: HCA (tied for 10), C&S Wholesale Group (14), Aflac Inc. (19), Pilot Travel Centers (29), Trump Organization (32), Reyes Holdings LLC (33), Pilgrim’s Pride (37), Cumberland Farms (44), H&R Block (59), Molex (75), American Eagle Outfitters (78), The Walsh Group (81), Amkor Technology (84), E.&J. Gallo Winery (85), J.E. Dunn Construction Group (86), Chick-fil-A (87), Perot Systems (88), O’Reilly Automotive (90), J.M. Smucker (91), Asplundh Tree Expert (tied for 92), Leprino Foods (tied for 92), Rich Products (tied for 92), Follett Corp. (96), A.O. Smith (98), McClatchy (99) and Mary Kay (100).

A few notes about our methodology: This list was compiled in the summer and autumn of 2008. The revenue figures and number of employees given for each company represent the most recent figures available (most 2007; some 2006 or 2008), depending on when the firms’ fiscal years end and (in the case of the private companies) the newest numbers we could find. Therefore, revenue figures may not reflect acquisitions or divestitures that occurred during 2008. These rankings are based on gross revenues and thus are not an indication of a firm’s financial stability. Our sources for this information include Hoover’s (an online business information resource), company websites, annual reports, proxy statements, Forbes, Fortune and Business Week, as well as local newspapers and business journals.

The U.S. firms on the current list seem to be significantly more productive than their counterparts from 2003, as measured by the amount of revenue each employee has produced. The companies on this list produced an aggregate of $1.52 trillion in revenue, compared with $1.057 trillion in 2003. That’s an increase of $463 billion, or 43.8%. The current crop of family companies employs 6.19 million people, compared with 2003’s top 100 roster of 5.3 million—up 890,000, or 16.8%. Thus, this year each family business employee produced $245,803, compared with $200,990 in 2003 (up $44,903 per employee, or 22.3%).

As was true of the companies on our earlier lists, the current crop group mixes companies overrun with relatives and those employing just one or two. They’re public (47 companies; 20 fewer than 2003’s top 100) as well as private (53). Age-wise, they run the gamut from convenience store operator Wawa Inc. (founded in 1803) to hospital operator Perot Systems (founded in 1988). In terms of staff, they range from Wal-Mart with 2.1 million employees to Host Hotels & Resorts with 243.

As before, all the companies on our list have a few characteristics in common:

• A single family controls the company’s ownership.

• The controlling family’s members are currently active in top management.

• The family has been involved in the company for at least two generations—or seems likely to be.

Unlike the public and private companies listed annually by Forbes and Fortune, family companies resist easy definition. If you know of any candidates we’ve inadvertently overlooked, please e-mail Editor-in-Chief Barbara Spector at

Jayne A. Pearl, a freelance writer, editor and speaker (, is the author of Kids and Money: Giving Them the Savvy to Succeed Financially and a workbook based on her seminar, How to Gimme-Proof Your Kids.

America’s largest family businesses

* Denotes company whose stock is publicly traded.
Revenue and employment figures are the most recent available.
The ranking from our 2003 list is given in parentheses. (NR) = Not ranked.


1. * Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (1)
Walton family
Discount retail chain/Bentonville, AR
Founded: 1945
Revenues: $378.79 billion
Employees: 2.1 million
From a single store in Arkansas in 1962, founder Sam Walton (d. 1992) and younger brother James L. (Bud) built Wal-Mart into the world’s largest retailer. It now has about 7,250 stores. Sam’s descendants own about 40%. Sam’s son, S. Robson Walton, 63, is the chairman.

2. * Ford Motor Co. (2)
Ford family
Auto manufacturer/Dearborn, MI
Founded: 1903
Revenues: $172.45 billion
Employees: 246,000
Pioneering auto firm now in fourth generation. Henry Ford (1863-1947) introduced mass production and dominated early auto market with Model T. His grandson Henry II (1917-1987) rebuilt the company as CEO, 1960-1980, with younger brother William (retired 1995) as finance committee chairman. William’s son William Clay (“Bill”) Ford Jr., 51, now the executive chairman of the board of directors, served as president, CEO and COO until naming Alan Mulally as his replacement in 2006. The Ford family owns about 40% of the voting stock.

3. Koch Industries Inc. (4)
Koch family
Holding company/Wichita, KS
Founded: 1928
Revenues: $98 billion
Employees: 80,000
Fred C. Koch, who invented a crude oil refining process, founded a vast empire of oil and gas services, cattle ranches, coal mines, real estate ventures and manufacturing facilities. In 1983 dissident sons Frederick and William filed suit contesting $1.1 billion price that Charles and David (William’s twin) paid for their brothers’ share. The dissidents lost after 13 years; Charles, 73, and David, 68, control company.

4. Cargill Inc. (3)
Cargill/MacMillan families
Commodities /Wayzata, MN
Founded: 1865
Revenues: $88.26 billion
Employees: 158,000
The company buys and sells grain, poultry, beef, steel, seeds, salt and other commodities on six continents. Founder William Cargill and brothers provided grain elevators to store wheat after Civil War. His Cargill and MacMillan descendants, now in fourth and fifth generations, have run the firm ever since (with non-family CEOs). The company created one of the first management training programs in the 1930s. Whitney MacMillan, who retired in 1995 after 18 years as CEO, was the last family leader, although family members own about 90% of the company and several remain on the board.

5. Carlson Cos. Inc. (100)
Carlson family
Travel, hotels, restaurants/Minnetonka, MN
Founded: 1938
Revenues: $37.1 billion
Employees: 176,000
Grocer’s son Curtis Carlson (1914-1999) created Gold Bond stamp company with $55 loan and built it into a conglomerate. Today the company owns 972 hotels, including Radisson and Regent Hotels, Carlson company acquired business travel firm Navigant International in 2006. Ownership is shared by Curtis Carlson’s two daughters: Marilyn Carlson Nelson, 68, and Barbara Gage, 65. Founder’s son-in-law Skip Gage, formerly president, left the company 1991 with a piece of his own when founder resumed control after successful bypass heart surgery. Carlson Wagonlit president and CEO Hubert Joly succeeded Marilyn Carlson Nelson as CEO of Carlson Companies in 2008; Nelson remains chairman. Nelson’s son Curtis Nelson, former heir apparent, was fired by his mother; a legal battle ensued.

6. * News Corp. (11)
Murdoch family
Media conglomerate/New York, NY
Founded: 1952
Revenues: $32 billion
Employees: 53,000
Respected journalist Sir Keith Murdoch built Australia’s largest newspaper company and passed it to son Rupert at his death in 1952. Rupert built huge global media/entertainment empire. Holdings today include TV (Fox Broadcasting plus cable networks and BSkyB satellite television), movies (20th Century Fox), scores of newspapers and magazines (London Times, New York Post, Dow Jones, etc.), publishing (HarperCollins), and sports team (Los Angeles Dodgers). Its Fox Interactive Media owns Rupert, 77, is still in charge. Son James, 35, is chairman and CEO of News Corp. Europe and Asia and non-executive chairman of British Sky Broadcasting. Rupert’s son Lachlan, 37, the former heir apparent and publisher of the New York Post, resigned in 2005 but remains on the board.

7. * Comcast Corp. (16)
Roberts family
Cable provider/Philadelphia, PA
Founded: 1963
Revenues: $30.895 billion
Employees: 100,000
Belt manufacturer Ralph Roberts launched cable TV service in Tupelo, Miss., in 1963. Today Comcast is the nation’s largest cable company, with 24 million subscribers, and second-largest Internet service provider. In 2002, Comcast acquired the assets of AT&T Broadband, the largest cable operator at the time. Ralph’s son Brian Roberts, 48, is now Comcast’s president, CEO and chairman. Super-voting shares give the Roberts family 33% voting power in Comcast, though it owns only about 1% of the equity.

8. * General Dynamics Corp. (14)
Crown family
Defense contractor/Falls Church, VA
Founded: 1899
Revenues: $27.24 billion
Employees: 83,500
Peppery Chicago dealmaker Henry Crown (1896-1990) built his family’s Material Services Corp. into the world’s largest building supply firm, sold it to General Dynamics 1960 and became GD’s largest shareholder. After feuding with GD’s board, Crown sold his stock, then bought back a controlling interest and installed himself and his son Lester as directors. Lester, now 82, stepped down from the board in 2006; his son James, 54, remains on GD’s board by virtue of the family’s 9% stake.

9. Bechtel Group Inc. (18)
Bechtel family
Engineering, construction, project management/San Francisco, CA
Founded: 1898
Revenues: $27 billion
Employees: 42,500
The largest engineering company in the U.S. started by rancher Warren A. (“Dad”) Bechtel, who built railroads in Oklahoma and moved to California in 1914. His son Stephen Sr. built Liberty ships for government during World War II. Stephen Jr., now 83, took over in 1965 and established reputation for megaprojects: airports; nuclear plants; trans-Alaska pipeline; Washington, D.C., subway; the Chunnel; “new city” of Jubail, Saudi Arabia, etc. The company has long had close ties to U.S. government officials and received a controversial $680 million contract for reconstruction work in Iraq in 2003. Stephen Jr.’s son Riley P. Bechtel, 56, is chairman and CEO.

10 (tie). HCA Inc. (NR)
Frist family
Hospital operator/Nashville, TN
Founded: 1968
Revenues: $26.9 billion
Employees: 161,000
Dr. Thomas Frist (father of former U.S. Sen Bill Frist) and his son Dr. Thomas Frist Jr. were among the partners who founded HCA (Hospital Corporation of America) in 1968. The company, which went public the following year, acquired hundreds of U.S. hospitals in the 1970s and 1980s. The company completed a $5.1 billion LBO in 1988, believing its shares to be undervalued, only to turn back to the public markets in 1992. In 1994, HCA merged with Louisville, Ky.-based Columbia Hospital Corporation. Amid government scrutiny over the company’s business practices, Frist Jr. become chairman and CEO and restructured HCA, selling off non-hospital businesses and several facilities. The company, which has been run by non-family since 2001, comprises 169 hospitals and 115 outpatient centers. In 2005, Sen. Frist (R-Tenn.) sold all his HCA shares before the stock dropped 9 points. Shareholders sued, alleging the company made false claims about its profits; the suit was settled in 2007, with HCA agreeing to pay $20 million to the shareholders. In 2006, Frist Jr., with three private equity investors, took the company private yet again, in a $30 billion LBO.

10 (tie). * Tyson Foods Inc. (7)
Tyson family
Food processor/Springdale, AR
Founded: 1935
Revenues: $26.9 billion
Employees: 104,000
Founder John W. Tyson sold chickens and feed to Arkansas farmers, got into processing and distribution after discovering he could fetch higher prices up North. Today, company is the nation’s No. 2 chicken supplier (after Pilgrim’s Pride) and the world’s largest meat processing firm since purchase of IBP Fresh Meats. Son Donald, now 78, dropped out of college in senior year to enter the business (1952) and was joined at the helm by half-brother Randal (d. 1986) after his father died in a train accident (1967). Donald retired as senior chairman in 2001 but remains on the board, with other directors: son John H., 54, the current chairman, and Barbara Tyson (widow of Randal), who served as vice president from 1988 to 2002. Donald owns 99.97% of common shares and 71% of company’s voting power.

12. Mars Inc. (10)
Mars family
Candy/McLean, VA
Founded: 1923
Revenues: $25 billion
Employees: 48,000
Candy-making Minnesotans Frank and Ethel Mars invented the Milky Way bar. Their secretive, driven son Forrest, supposed model for Willy Wonka, feuded with his father, started his own candy company in England, then merged with late father’s business in 1964. Forrest died in 1999 at age 95. Forrest’s son John, 71, is chairman; Forrest Jr., 76 is retired CEO; daughter Jacqueline Badger Mars, 67, is vice president. In 2008 the company agreed to acquire the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.

13. Publix Super Markets Inc. (12)
Jenkins family
Supermarkets/Lakeland, FL
Founded: 1930
Revenues: $23.2 billion
Employees: 144,000
Founder George Washington Jenkins (d. 1996) hitchhiked from Georgia to Florida to seek his fortune in real estate. He got a job instead at Piggly Wiggly and worked his way up to manager. After a snub from the owner, he opened a competing store next door. The chain now operates more than 925 stores in five states. Son Charlie Jenkins Jr., 64, is chairman; Howard, 56, and Carol Jenkins Barnett, 51, are directors. Stock has been offered to employees since 1930; they now own about 30%.

14. C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. (NR)
Cohen family
Food wholesaler/Keene, NH
Founded: 1918
Revenues: $19.5 billion
Employees: 16,958
Israel Cohen co-founded what is today New England’s largest food wholesaler (and second in the U.S.) in 1918 with Abraham Siegel. His son Lester took over in 1972; he brought in his sons, Richard (currently chairman and CEO) and Jim. The company now serves 5,000 independent supermarkets, chains, mass marketers and wholesale clubs.

15. * Murphy Oil Corp. (45)
Murphy family
Oil/El Dorado, AR
Founded: 1907
Revenues: $18.44 billion
Employees: 7,539
Charles H. Murphy Sr. started investing in oil in 1907; after World War I, his son Charles Jr. expanded into oil and gas production. After two non-family CEOs, founder’s grandson Claiborne Deming (Charles Jr.’s nephew), now 53, took over in 1994. The company currently operates pipelines in the U.S. and Canada and runs 1,362 gas stations in the U.S. and Britain, many on Wal-Mart lots.

Jonathan Tisch

‘I learned from the best partners … my father and uncle. They were in business together for 57 years before my uncle passed away…. And that partnership is carried on today because I’m fortunate to run a corporation with my two cousins, and we’re always honest with each other.’

Jonathan Tisch, co-president and co-chairman, Loews Corp. (#16), speaking to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Sept. 23, 2008.


16. * Loews Corp. (9)
Tisch family
Holding company/New York, NY
Founded: 1946
Revenues: $18.38 billion
Employees: 21,700
Entrepreneurial brothers Laurence (d. 2003 at age 80) and Preston (Bob) Tisch (d. 2005 at age 79), started in real estate, gained control of Loews Theatres in 1959; diversified into cigarettes, insurance (CNA Financial), oil and gas drilling, watches (Bulova), hotels. Loews gained control of CBS in 1986 and sold it in 1995. Larry’s son James, 55, took over as Loews CEO in 1999; his brother Andrew, 58, and Bob’s son Jonathan, 54, are co-presidents and co-chairmen. Tisches own more than 20% of stock. The company spun off its tobacco unit, Lorillard, as a stand-alone business in 2008.

17. * Illinois Tool Works Inc. (22)
Smith family
Industrial equipment/Glenview, IL
Founded: 1912
Revenues: $16.171 billion
Employees: 60,000
After founding Chicago’s Northern Trust Co. in 1889, patriarch Byron L. Smith (1853-1914) financed two Swedish toolmakers to form ITW. He later took control and handed the operation to his younger sons Walter and Harold C. (His eldest son remained at the bank.) Harold C.’s son Harold Byron Smith (d. 1990) took charge after World War II and diversified from fasteners, screws and washers into packaging systems, engineering components and medical and computer supplies. The acquisitive conglomerate spent about $1.7 billion in 2006 to buy more than 50 companies, and then another 52 last year. It now boasts 800 separate companies in 50 countries. Fourth-generation Harold Jr., 74, owns 10.1% of company shares and serves on the board.

18. * The Gap Inc. (13)
Fisher family
Retail chain/San Francisco, CA
Founded: 1969
Revenues: $15.763 billion
Employees: 150,000
Donald and Doris Fisher, now 79 and 76, opened their first jeans store in 1969, just in time for the jeans craze of the 1970s. Banana Republic was added in 1983, Old Navy in 1994. The chain has retrenched from more than 4,250 stores in 2004 to today’s 3,150 worldwide. The Fishers still own about one third of stock; Donald remains chairman emeritus. Sons Robert and William left in 1998 and 1999, but Robert, 53, remains on the board of directors.

19. * Aflac Inc. (NR)
Amos family
Insurance/Columbus, GA
Founded: 1973
Revenues: $15.39 billion
Employees: 8,048
Sells supplemental health and life insurance policies that cover cancer and other special conditions. One of the largest sellers of supplemental insurance in the U.S. and an industry leader in Japan. It’s marketed through (and is an acronym for) American Family Life Assurance Company. Daniel P. Amos, 56, son of co-founder Paul S. Amos, is chairman and CEO and has been with the company since 1973. His son, Paul S. Amos II, 32, is president, CFO, treasurer and EVP of Aflac U.S.

20. Cox Enterprises Inc. (21)
Cox family
Media conglomerate/Atlanta, GA
Founded: 1898
Revenues: $15 billion
Employees: 82,000
Reporter James M. Cox bought the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News in 1898 and the Atlanta Constitution in 1950; he died in 1957. The company now owns 17 daily newspapers, about 25 non-dailies, cable systems, some 80 radio stations and 15 TV stations. It engineered a buyout of formerly public company Cox Communications (one of the U.S.’s largest cable systems, with more than 6 million subscribers) in 2004. Founder’s daughter Anne Chambers, 88 (U.S. ambassador to Belgium under President Carter) controls the company; her sister, Barbara Anthony, died 2007. Barbara’s husband. Garner Anthony, stepped down as CEO in 1987 and was succeeded by James Cox Kennedy, now 60, Barbara’s son from a previous marriage. In August 2008, the company announced plans to sell 29 daily and weekly newspapers in Texas, Colorado and North Carolina, as well as Valpak, a direct mail advertising subsidiary of Cox Communications.

21. Fidelity Investments (FMR LLC) (25)
Johnson family
Financial services/Boston, MA
Founded: 1946
Revenues: $14.9 billion
Employees: 46,400
Department store heir turned mutual fund pioneer Edward C. Johnson II bought Fidelity Fund in 1946, fired its investment adviser and managed the fund himself, stressing instincts and knowledge over prudence. Assets under management multiplied 1,000 times (from $3 million to $3 billion) by 1972, when his son Edward C. (Ned) III succeeded him. Now leading mutual fund company worldwide, with more than 300 funds, 23 million retail and institutional customers and $1.5 trillion assets managed. Ned, 78, reduced ownership share in parent FMR Corp. to 12% 1995, making daughter Abigail, 46, company’s largest shareholder (with 25%). At the time, Johnson relatives and top Fidelity execs owned the rest. (The company no longer releases ownership details.) Abigail, 46, is president of Fidelity Employer Services Co. Robert C. Ketterson, husband of Abigail’s sister Elizabeth, 45, is an executive at Fidelity Ventures, which manages Fidelity’s real estate, building supplies, telecommunications, a limousine service and a greenhouse. Brother Edward C. Johnson IV, 43, is a member of Fidelity board of trustees and vice president at Pembroke Real Estate, Fidelity’s real estate investment arm.

Hank Meijer

‘While we are fairly large as a private family business, in our field we are going against the $50 [billion] to $320 billion national and multinational organizations. We are small in that we are not able to do what they do in procurement and importing.’

Hank Meijer, co-chairman and co-CEO of Meijer Inc. (#22), in Family Business, Summer 2007.


22. Meijer Inc. (19)
Meijer family
Retailing and groceries/Grand Rapids, MI
Founded: 1934
Revenues: $13.9 billion
Employees: 67,000
Dutch immigrant Hendrik Meijer opened barbershop in 1914, added groceries to help pay rent. Son Frederik, now 88 and chairman emeritus, pioneered “one-stop shopping” concept in 1960s, expanded chain to 180 mega-stores in Midwest today. Founder’s grandson Hendrik (“Hank”) Meijer, 56, is CEO and co-chairman; Doug Meijer, 54, is co-chairman.

23. H.E. Butt Grocery Co. (20)
Butt family
Food stores, bread bakeries/San Antonio, TX
Founded: 1905
Revenues: $13.5 billion
Employees: 63,000
Florence Butt opened first store in Kerrville, Texas, with $60. Son Howard took over in 1919, opened a second store in 1927. Howard’s son Charles assumed leadership in 1971 at age 33 and expanded $200 million chain into nation’s 12th largest food retailer (first in South) with more than 300 supermarkets. Under CEO Charles, now 68, the company expanded and added food processing. The company donates 5% of its pre-tax earnings to education, art and food programs.

24. * Carnival Corp. (39)
Arison family
Cruise line/Miami, FL
Founded: 1972
Revenues: $13 billion
Employees: 81,200
World’s largest cruise operator (about a dozen cruise lines and 85 ships serving 7 million passengers). Operates luxury Princess Cruises, Holland America and Seabourn as well as flagship Carnival Cruise Lines. Chairman and CEO Micky Arison, 58, son of founder Ted Arison, and his family own about 30% of the company.

25. * Marriott International Inc. (26)
Marriott family
Hotels and casinos/Bethesda, MD
Founded: 1927
Revenues: $12.99 billion
Employees: 151,000
From a Washington, D.C., root beer stand opened in 1927, J. Willard Marriott (1900-1985) and his wife, Alice, expanded into hotels and restaurants. It’s now the world’s largest lodging company, with 3,000 owned or franchised properties in 65 countries and more than 2,000 rental units for corporate housing; also manages 45 golf courses. Son John, now 75, named president in 1964, added retirement homes, financing. He runs Marriott International (J.W. III, 47, is vice chairman); brother Richard, 69, heads the family’s luxury Host Hotels & Resorts business (see #50 below). Alice died in 2000 at age 92. Marriott family owns about 30% of stock.

26. * Jabil Circuit Inc. (51)
Morean family
Electronics manufacturing services/St. Petersburg, FL
Founded: 1966
Revenues: $12.29 billion
Employees: 61,000
Founded in a suburban Detroit garage as a computer equipment maker. Founder’s son William Morean, now 52, swept floors as boy and returned in 1977 at age 22 to run a one-client company upon his father’s retirement. He was CEO from 1988 to 2000, when he became chairman. The company is now one of the nation’s top makers of printed circuit boards and other electrical components. Morean family owns about 15%.

27. JM Family Enterprises Inc. (29)
Moran family
Auto dealerships/Deerfield Beach, FL
Founded: 1968
Revenues: $12.2 billion
Employees: 4,700
Starting with a gas station, Chicagoan James Moran moved up to a used-car dealership, a Hudson franchise, then a Ford franchise. He moved to Florida for his health in the 1960s; acquired regional Toyota distributorship and built his family company into the world’s largest Lexus dealer and national biggest privately owned Toyota distributor. Founder now 88 and honorary chairman; daughter Pat retired as chairman in 2007.

28. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co. (30)
Taylor family
Car rentals and leasing/St. Louis, MO
Founded: 1957
Revenues: $12.1 billion
Employees: 75,700
On a hunch that drivers would rather lease than buy, Jack Taylor launched the firm in the basement of a Cadillac dealership. It now has 525,000 cars in 4,000 locations. The firm was named after aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise, where Jack flew fighters as a Navy pilot in World War II. Took over competitors Alamo and National in late 2007. Jack’s son, Andrew Taylor, 60, is CEO. The Taylor family owns about 98% of the company. Five family members hold corporate posts, including Andrew Taylor’s daughter Christine Taylor Broughton, 32, and his niece Carolyn Kindle, 31. Pamela M. Nicholson, a non-family member, was named president in 2008.

29. Pilot Travel Centers LLC (NR)
Haslam family
Roadside rest stops/Knoxville, TN
Founded: 1958
Revenues: $11.8 billion
Employees: 13,000
PTC was formed as 50-50 joint-venture between Pilot Corp. and Marathon Petroleum and is the 10th largest restaurant franchisee, the largest operator of travel centers (selling fuel and house fast-food restaurants) in the U.S., and Tennessee’s second largest privately held company, with 281 locations in 40 states. Founder and chairman Jimmy Haslam II started with a single gas station in Virginia. His son, James “Jimmy” Haslam III, 54, is president.

30. * Masco Corp. (23)
Manoogian family
Building materials/Taylor, MI
Founded: 1929
Revenues: $11.77 billion
Employees: 52,000
Founder Alex Manoogian (d. 1996) and two partners launched the company eight days before the 1929 stock market crash, but the company survived, allowing Manoogian to perfect single-handle Delta faucet. His Yale-educated son Richard, now 71, took over in 1968; the following year the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Under Richard’s leadership, Manoogian acquired more than 100 building and home improvement companies. Richard remains executive chairman and owns 3.2% of common shares.

31. * Danaher Corp. (37)
Rales family
Industrial equipment/Washington, DC
Founded: 1981
Revenues: $11 billion
Employees: 50,000
Brothers Steven and Mitchell Rales started manufacturing company in their 20s and expanded through acquisitions into tools (Sears Craftsman hammers), components, process-environmental controls. Danaher acquired six companies in 2007, including ChemTreat, an industrial water treatment products maker and Tektronix, world's leading oscilloscopes vendor; more acquisitions are planned. Steven 56, is chairman; Mitchell, 52, is chairman of executive committee. Together they own 20%.

32. The Trump Organization (NR)
Trump family
Real estate developer/New York, NY
Founded: 1920
Revenues: $10.7 billion
Employees: 2,450
Fred Trump (d. 1999 at age 93) started a construction business at age 15, while continuing high school. Son Donald, now 62, joined his father’s company in 1968 and apprenticed under him for five years. The company owns and operates hotels, resorts, residential towers and golf courses and has developed high-end Trump International Hotel & Tower, Trump Tower, 40 Wall Street; also owns 28% of Trump Entertainment Resources, which owns casinos in Atlantic City, N.J. Co-owns (with NBC) Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe pageants. “The Donald’s” three oldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric, are executive vice presidents.

33. Reyes Holdings LLC (NR)
Reyes family
Food and beverage wholesaler/Rosemont, IL
Founded: 1976
Revenues: $10.1 billion
Employees: 8,700
J. Christopher Reyes and M. Jude Reyes bought a Schlitz distributorship in Chicago, expanded into food distribution with 1998 purchase of Martin-Bower. Company. The business, which has grown largely through acquisitions, now delivers more than 390 million cases of beer and food products from more than 70 warehouses in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico as well as Central and South America. Chris Reyes (54) and Jude Reyes (52) are co-chairmen. VP David Reyes, 40, is also CEO of Reyes’ beer division.

34. * Qualcomm Inc. (56)
Jacobs family
Wireless communications equipment/San Diego, CA
Founded: 1985
Revenues: $8.87 billion
Employees: 12,800
Pioneered commercialization of multiple access technology used in wireless communications equipment, especially cell phones. It licenses technology and system software to more than 100 equipment and cell phone makers. Paul Jacobs, 45, son of founder and chairman Irwin M. Jacobs, 74, became CEO in 2005.

35. * Nordstrom Inc. (32)
Nordstrom family
Upscale department store chain/Seattle, WA
Founded: 1901
Revenues: $8.83 billion
Employees: 55,000
Swedish immigrant John W. Nordstrom opened a Seattle shoe store in 1901; he retired in 1928. His three sons built it into the largest independent U.S. shoe chain by 1963. Grandsons Bruce, John and Jim Nordstrom and cousin-in-law Jack McMillan diversified into upscale specialty retailing. The chain, known for impeccable service, now has 100 stores and 50 outlet shops in 25 states as well as clearance stores and luxury boutiques. The family owns more than 15% of stock. The founder’s grandsons all retired 1995; six fourth-generation Nordstroms (Bill, Blake, Dan, Erik, Jim and Peter) were appointed to co-presidency under a non-family CEO. Bruce Nordstrom, 73, came back from retirement in 2000 as chairman until 2006; his son Blake, 47, is president.

36. Advance Publications Inc. (41)
Newhouse family
Newspaper and magazine publisher/Staten Island, NY
Founded: 1922
Revenues: $7.7 billion
Employees: 28,000
Founder Samuel I. Newhouse bought Staten Island Advance in 1922. He built a disparate, unstructured chain overrun with some 20 relatives before his death in 1979. Sons Donald, 77, and Samuel Irving Newhouse Jr. (“Si”), 81, expanded and diversified the company. Donald runs the newspaper division (Cleveland Plain Dealer, New Orleans’ Times-Picayune). Si runs Condé Nast magazines, nation’s second-largest magazine publisher (Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair, New Yorker). Advance also runs Bright House Cable and owns part of the Discovery Channel and Learning Channel. Donald’s son Steven, 50, is chairman of

37. * Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (NR)
Pilgrim family
Chicken and meat supplier and processor/Pittsburg, TX
Founded: 1946
Revenues: $7.6 billion
Employees: 59,400
Founded when Aubrey Pilgrim and a partner purchased a feed and seed store for $3,500; brother Lonnie (Bo) soon joined him. A decade later they opened their first processing plant; renamed the company Pilgrim’s Industries in 1968 and changed the name again to Pilgrim’s Pride in 1985. After years of expansion and acquisition, the company leapfrogged Tyson as the #1 chicken processor with its hostile $1.1 billion takeover of Gold Kist in early 2007 (although Tyson has higher revenue owing to its meat processing business). Today Pilgrim breeds, hatches and raises chicken and processes, distributes and markets raw and prepared chicken and eggs; also makes animal feed. Lonnie (Bo) Pilgrim, 79, is senior chairman; son Lonnie K. (Ken), 50, is chairman. The company filed for bankruptcy protection on Dec. 1, 2008, saying it would continue to operate through the reorganization process and that it was not planning to liquidate its assets. Trading in the company’s stock was suspended by the New York Stock Exchange after the bankruptcy filing.

38. S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. (34)
Johnson family
Home and personal care products/Racine, WI
Founded: 1886
Revenues: $7.5 billion
Employees: 12,000
Founded by Samuel Johnson, a carpenter who went from floors to polishes. His great-grandson Samuel C. Johnson (d. 2004) the longtime CEO, died in 2004. Samuel C. Johnson’s son H. Fisk, 50, now chairman and CEO, headed consumer products (Windex, Pledge, Glade, Raid, Saran Wrap, Off!); Fisk’s brother S. Curtis, 53, ran commercial business (floor care, polymers; see JohnsonDiversey, #80 below). Recreation (Johnson Outdoors) is headed by their sister Helen Johnson-Leipold, 51, who also leads Johnson Financial Group. Their other sister, Winifred Johnson-Marquart, is president of the Johnson Family Foundation and serves on the board of Johnson Financial Group. The founder’s immediate family owns about 60% of S.C. Johnson; founder’s daughter’s descendants own the rest.

39. * Dillard’s Inc. (28)
Dillard family
Department stores/Little Rock, AR
Founded: 1938
Revenues: $7.37 billion
Employees: 39,938
Founder William T. Dillard’s department store chain operates some 325 upscale, medium-sized stores in 29 states. The founder died in 2002 at age 87. His son William II , 63, is chairman and CEO; Alex, 58, is president; Mike, 56, is EVP; William III is VP. Some 30 Dillard family members own 10% of stock but control 99% of Class B stock, which elects two-thirds of company’s directors.

40. * The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. (36)
Lauder family
Cosmetics, fragrances, skin care products/New York, NY
Founded: 1944
Revenues: $7 billion
Employees: 28,500
Founded by Joseph Lauder (d. 1983) and legendary wife Estée (d. 2004 at age 97). Company brands such as Clinique, Bobbi Brown and Aveda are sold in department stores, company stores and specialty retailers. Son Leonard, 74, was CEO until 1999 and is now chairman. His brother Ronald, 64, is on the board. Leonard’s son William, 46, is CEO; Ronald’s daughter Aerin is director of creative marketing, and his daughter Jane is senior vice president and general manager of the Origins brand. The family controls about 88% of the voting stock. Veteran Procter & Gamble executive Fabrizio Freda became president and COO in 2008.

41. The Marmon Group LLC (33)
Pritzker family
Mining equipment, railroad cars/Chicago, IL
Founded: 1953
Revenues: $6.99 billion
Employees: 21,500
Chicago lawyer A.N. Pritzker (1896-1986) used legal knowledge to assemble real estate and manufacturing empire that his sons Jay and Robert multiplied many times over through shrewd acquisitions and astute management (Hyatt Hotels, Marmon Group, American Medical International, etc.). Currently owns more than 125 manufacturing companies that make medical products, mining equipment, industrial materials and components, consumer products, transportation equipment, building product, and water-treatment products plus service companies that provide marketing and distribution. Dealmaker Jay died in 1999; engineer Bob ran Marmon Group until retiring in 2004. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway purchased 60% of the company from the Pritzker family for a reported $4.5 billion late in 2007; it intends to purchase the family’s remaining 40% stake over five to six years.

42. Clear Channel Communications Inc. (27)
Mays family
Broadcasting/San Antonio, TX
Founded: 1972
Revenues: $6.817 billion
Employees: 23,400
Founder Lowry Mays, 73, started buying distressed radio stations in midsized markets with fellow Texan Red McCombs. The company is now the nation’s No. 1 radio station owner (some 900, 50 of which are operated under the auspices of an entity called the Aloha Trust) and the world’s largest outdoor advertising company (digital outdoor displays and billboards, airport and shopping mall displays). Clear Channel sold its 56 TV stations for about $1 billion in 2008. Lowry is chairman; his son Mark, 45, is CEO, son Randall, 43, is president, daughter Kathryn Mays Johnson, 48, is senior VP of corporate relations). In July 2008, the company completed a deal to be taken private by an investment group led by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital. The Mays family retains 7% of the common shares.

43. * The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. (35)
McGraw family
Publishing, advertising/New York, NY
Founded: 1909
Revenues: $6.77 billion
Employees: 21,171
Trade magazine publishers James H. McGraw Sr. and John Hill joined forces to create a book company in 1909. Hill died in 1916; McGraw and his descendants built the company into the world’s largest textbook publisher and an important business information provider (Standard & Poor’s, Business Week, etc.); also operates nine TV stations. In 2005, the company acquired global marketing information provider J.D. Power and Associates and financial data and analytics provider Capital IQ. James Sr. retired in 1935 and died in 1948; he was succeeded in turn by sons James Jr. (Jay), Curtis and Donald. Their nephew Harold McGraw Jr. (b. 1918) beat out two cousins and an uncle for the CEO job in 1974; he’s been chairman emeritus since 1988. His son Harold (Terry) III, 60, is the current president and CEO.

44. Cumberland Farms Inc. (111)
Haseotes/Bentas families
Convenience stores/Canton, MA
Founded: 1938
Revenues: $6.5 billion
Employees: 6,500
Founders Vasilios and Aphrodite Haseotes turned a one-cow dairy into New England’s first convenience store. The company now has more than 1,100 stores and gas stations in 11 Eastern Seaboard states. Founders’ daughter Lily Haseotes Bentas, 68, is chairman; she and her siblings own the company.

45. * Cablevision Systems Corp. (44)
Dolan family
Cable TV/Bethpage, NY
Founded: 1973
Revenues: $6.48 billion
Employees: 22,075
The company provides cable TV service to more than 3 million customers in and around New York City, plus broadband Internet, computer telephony and business communications services. It also operates national cable networks American Movie Classics, Independent Film Channel and Women’s Entertainment; Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden, NBA’s New York Knicks and NHL’s New York Rangers. In 2008, Clear Channel agreed to acquire Newsday Media Group, and Cablevision subsidiary Rainbow Media announced it was purchasing the Sundance Channel. Founder/chairman Charles F. Dolan, 82, and family control the company through a special class of stock. Son James L., now 52, took over as CEO in 1995. His wife, Kristin, is senior vice president of digital and video project management. Older brothers Patrick and Thomas serve on the board of directors. Investors rejected the Dolan family’s $10.6 billion buyout offer in fall 2007; in summer 2008, the company announced it was considering spinning off some of its holdings.

46. * Franklin Resources Inc. (76)
Johnson family
Mutual funds/San Mateo, CA
Founded: 1947
Revenues: $6.2 billion
Employees: 8,000
Global investment management organization with more than 300 funds sold under the Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series, Bissett, Darby Overseas and Fiduciary Trust names. Also provides separately managed accounts and insurance product funds. Charles B. Johnson joined as CEO in 1957 at age 23, currently chairman at age 74. He and half-brother Rupert Johnson Jr., executive VP, 67, own more than one-third of company. Charles’ son Gregory, 47, is current president and CEO.

47. * Stryker Corp. (57)
Stryker family
Medical products/Kalamazoo, MI
Founded: 1941
Revenues: $6 billion
Employees: 16,026
Dr. Homer Stryker, inventor of the walking heel and other medical devices, founded a surgical instruments company in 1941. The founder’s son and successor Lee died in a plane crash in 1976. Longtime non-family CEO John Brown, who expanded the company and took it public, became non-executive chairman in 2005; Stephen P. MacMillan is now president and CEO. The company’s two main businesses are joint replacement and surgical products/medical supplies. Stryker acquired Sightline and entered the gastrointestinal market in 2006. The company sold its Physiotherapy Associates division to private equity firm Water Street Healthcare Partners for $150 million in 2007. The family still owns more than 20%; Ronda Stryker, 53, is a director.

48. Gordon Food Service (65)
Gordon family
Food distributor/Grand Rapids, MI
Founded: 1897
Revenues: $5.9 billion
Employees: 11,000
Dutch immigrant Isaac VanWestenbrugge founded a butter-and-egg distributor. High school senior Ben Gordon joined in 1916, married Isaac’s daughter Ruth in 1921 and later brought in brother Frank; the company was renamed for them in 1942. It now distributes more than 15,000 food and non-food items to restaurants, hospitals, schools and other institutions as well as through more than 100 GFS Marketplace stores in five Midwestern states and Florida. Still owned by founder’s descendants. Three Gordons in are top management. CEO Dan is the founder’s great-grandson, Jim is president and John Gordon Jr. is secretary/treasurer.

49. * Kelly Services Inc. (40)
Kelly/Adderley families
Business services/Troy, MI
Founded: 1946
Revenues: $5.67 billion
Employees: 760,000
William Russell Kelly (1905-1998), son of an oil-drilling pioneer, started a temporary office service in Detroit with $10,000. He brought in brothers Dick (later president), Jim and Ted. After the founder’s wife was killed in an auto crash in 1947, he married employee Margaret Adderley and adopted her son Terence. Terence Adderley, now 74, joined 1958, became president 1967, has been chairman since father’s death. Company places 750,000 people a year in jobs through 2,500 offices in more than 35 countries. Adderley, the only family member with the company, owns a controlling stake. His son Terence E. (“Ted”) Adderley Jr., was killed in the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11, 2001, at age 22. He was working as a research associate at Fred Alger Management.

50. * Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. (49)
Marriott family
Hotels and gaming/Bethesda, MD
Founded: 1927
Revenues: $5.43 billion
Employees: 243
Smaller luxury hotels arm of empire launched by J. Willard Marriott in 1927 with a D.C. root beer stand. Owns 120 luxury Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, most managed by larger sister company Marriott International (see #25 above). Founder’s son Richard, 69, is chairman; his older brother John runs Marriott International.

Tim Timken
‘The company has been dedicated to creating value to our customers through innovation…. Unless we can find a way to create value through innovation we are just a commodity player, and that’s not a position we feel we can win with.’

Tim Timken, chairman, The Timken Co. (#51), in Family Business, Spring 2006.


51. * The Timken Co. (74)
Timken family
Ball bearings/Canton, OH
Founded: 1899
Revenues: $5.24 billion
Employees: 25,175
Produces wide range of ball bearings for aerospace, automotive, railroad and other industries. Founded 1899 by retired carriage maker Henry Timken and still controlled and run by his heirs. Former president, CEO and chairman William R. Timken Jr., 70, was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Germany in 2005. Ward J. “Jack” Timken, 65, VP from 1992-2003, is currently a director. Ward J. “Tim” Timken Jr., 40, former president of the company’s Steel Group and now chairman, represents the sixth generation.

52. Kohler Co. (60)
Kohler family
Plumbing products/Kohler, WI
Founded: 1873
Revenues: $5 billion
Employees: 33,000
John M. Kohler set up an iron foundry; his elder son, Walter J. Kohler, built a utopian company town around it; he and son Walter Jr., both company presidents, became Wisconsin governors. Walter Sr.’s strong-willed half-brother, Herbert, CEO 1940-65, fought unions and relatives. Marketing flair of son Herbert Jr., 69, president and chairman, turned prosaic toilets, sinks and tubs into colorful status symbols; now 35 plants worldwide. Also has furniture, engines and generators and golf/resort divisions. He and sister Ruth Kohler control most of the company.

53. * Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. (73)
Hovnanian family
Home builders/Red Bank, NJ
Founded: 1959
Revenues: $4.8 billion
Employees: 4,318
Designs and builds 15,000 homes, condos and townhouses a year, mostly in Northeastern U.S. Hovnanian family members control more than 90% of company. Kevork Hovnanian, 84, is chairman; Ara Hovnanian, 50, is president and CEO.

54. Wawa Inc. (89)
Wood family
Convenience stores/Wawa, PA
Founded: 1865
Revenues: $4.67 billion
Employees: 16,866
George Wood (d. 1926) launched textile maker Millville Manufacturing Co. and later added small dairy in town of Wawa in 1902. Grandson Grahame Wood closed the mill in the 1960s, opened his first convenience store in 1964. Fifth-generation member Richard Wood Jr. is chairman. The company now has more than 540 stores in five states and a dairy that supplies its stores and 1,000 other institutions. The majority of company stock is owned by more than 130 descendants of George Wood. Company associates who participate in the Employee Stock Ownership Plan have a 25% ownership stake.

55. * Toll Brothers Inc. (79)
Toll family
Luxury home builder/Horsham, PA
Founded: 1967
Revenues: $4.65 billion
Employees: 4,329
The nation’s leading builder of luxury homes, founded in 1967 by brothers Robert and Bruce Toll. Robert, 67, has been CEO since the company’s inception. Bruce, 64, president and COO until 1998, is now vice chairman. Bruce Toll is the founder and chairman of real estate firm BET Investments, owns several car dealerships and is chairman of Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC, the parent company of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. In July 2008, Robert Toll announced a plan to sell up to 3 million of his shares in Toll Brothers by July 2009. As of March 2008, Robert Toll owned 20.8 million Toll Brothers shares, or 13%.

56. The Hearst Corp. (53)
Hearst family
Media/New York, NY
Founded: 1887
Revenues: $4.62 billion
Employees: 17,062
Mining heir William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) took over the San Francisco Examiner in 1887 and the New York Journal in 1895. Aiming at mass audiences, he built the nation’s then-largest newspaper chain. His last surviving son, Randolph, chairman 1973-1996, was succeeded by nephew George R. Hearst Jr., now 81 and chairman of the board. George R. Hearst III, 53, is vice president, associate publisher and general manager of Hearst’s Albany Times-Union. The Hearst empire encompasses 16 dailies (including Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle), 49 weeklies, nearly 200 magazines worldwide (Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Town & Country), 29 TV stations through Hearst-Argyle Television, ownership in cable networks (Lifetime, A&E, History and ESPN) and business publishing (including a minority joint venture interest in Fitch ratings), Internet businesses, TV production, newspaper features distribution and real estate. In August 2008, it announced the acquisition of the Connecticut Post, including seven weeklies, from MediaNews Group Inc. The two companies co-manage some publications, and Hearst has interests in an additional 43 daily and 72 non-daily newspapers owned by MediaNews.

57. Wegmans Food Markets Inc. (59)
Wegman family
Food markets/Rochester, NY
Founded: 1916
Revenues: $4.5 billion
Employees: 37,000
John Wegman opened a fruit and vegetable store in Rochester in 1916; brother Walter joined a year later. They opened a showplace supermarket with cafeteria in 1930. John’s nephew Robert Wegman (d. 2006) joined in 1933, stepped down as CEO 2005 and was succeed by son Danny, 59. Daughter Colleen, 35, is president; younger daughter Nicole, 32, is VP of restaurant operations. The company now has 71 superstores; it closed Chase-Pitkin Home & Garden Centers in 2005.

58. * American Financial Group Inc. (48)
Lindner family
Insurance, investments/Cincinnati, OH
Founded: 1959
Revenues: $4.405 billion
Employees: 500
Carl Lindner Jr. and his brothers opened ice cream store in 1940 and built it into the 22-store United Dairy Farmers chain. They launched American Financial with small savings and loans in 1959; added insurance in 1971, Chiquita Brands in the early 1970s. It’s now a holding company for diverse family investments. Lindner family owns 30%. Carl, 89, retired as CEO in 2005 but remains chairman; his sons Carl III, 54, and S. Craig, 53, are co-CEOs and co-presidents.

59. * H&R Block Inc. (NR)
Bloch family
Tax preparation services, software, insurance, retail banking/Kansas City, MO
Founded: 1955
Revenues: $4.403 billion
Employees: 137,200
Brothers Henry W. and Richard Bloch founded a tax-preparation service in 1955. Henry managed the company (the spelling was changed to avoid mispronunciation as “blotch”) while Richard (d. 2004) opened offices nationwide. It’s now the leading tax preparer in the U.S., with more than 13,000 retail offices and about 1,500 offices in Canada and Australia. It operated in the U.K. until 2007. More than a third of its network is franchised. It also offers digital tax services and TaxCut consumer tax software. The H&R Block Bank, established in 2006, serves low- to moderate-income customers. RSM McGladrey Business Services was created in 1999 when H&R Block acquired the assets and business of McGladrey & Pullen. Co-founder Henry W. Bloch is honorary chairman. His son Thomas Bloch, now a director of the company, left the CEO post in 1995 to become a teacher and later founded a charter school in Kansas City. Thomas’ son Jason is district manager in training.

60. Hallmark Cards Inc. (42)
Hall family
Greeting cards/Kansas City, MO
Founded: 1910
Revenues: $4.4 billion
Employees: 15,900
Founder Joyce Hall (1891-1982) began as teenager, stamped the company with the notion that good taste pays (Hallmark Hall of Fame TV show, Hallmark Gallery in New York, Crown Center in Kansas City). Today Hallmark greeting cards are found in more than 43,000 stores, including the company’s 3,700 Hallmark Gold Crown stores. Hallmark also owns crayon maker Crayola and a controlling stake in Gold Crown media (cable TV broadcast company). Hall family owns two-thirds, employees the rest. Founder’s son Donald J. Hall Sr., 79, stepped down as CEO in 1986 but remains chairman; son Don Jr., 52, is president and CEO.

61. * The Washington Post Co. (71)
Graham family
Newspapers/Washington, DC
Founded: 1877
Revenues: $4.18 billion
Employees: 19,000
Financier Eugene Meyer bought the failing Washington Post in a bankruptcy auction in 1933, turned over to son-in-law Phil Graham (1947). Graham made it profitable, added TV stations, Newsweek. After his suicide (1963), shy widow Katharine took over, blossomed and pushed company to new heights and won Pulitzers for Watergate exposé and her autobiography; she died in 2001 at age 84. Today the company also owns six TV stations, online publishing operations, a cable TV service and giant test prep company Kaplan, the source of most of the company’s income. Katharine Graham’s son Donald, 62, is CEO and chairman; his niece Katharine Weymouth, 41, was named publisher of newspaper and CEO of new Washington Post Media unit in 2008. As holders of Class A stock, the Graham family controls the company.

62. Levi Strauss & Co. (43)
Haas family
Jeans manufacturer/San Francisco, CA
Founded: 1853
Revenues: $4.1 billion
Employees: 10,680
Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss (1829-1902) set up a San Francisco dry goods house in 1853; with tailor Jacob Davis, invented blue jeans in 1873. Bachelor Strauss left the business to four Stern nephews, who ran it until 1928. Team of Stern son-in-law Walter Haas Sr. and brother-in-law Daniel Koshland ran the firm next. Family LBO’d the company 1996 in a $4.3 billion deal orchestrated by Strauss’s great-great-grandnephew Robert Haas, now 65. Haas retired as chairman in 2008 after holding that post for 18 years; he’s now chairman emeritus and remains a director. He remains one of Levi’s largest shareholders with several other family members.

63. * Cintas Corp. (69)
Farmer family
Industrial services/Cincinnati, OH
Founded: 1929
Revenues: $4 billion
Employees: 34,000
Founder Richard “Doc” Farmer started an industrial laundry after being laid off as a circus performer; he was joined by son Hershell. His kids Richard (“Dick”) and Joan sometimes slept overnight at plant in crates of warm towels. Company grew to become the nation’s largest supplier of uniforms; also makes floor mats, janitorial supplies, etc. Uniforms now generate less than 40% of overall revenues; the company’s document management division, which recycles 1.5 million pounds of shredded paper a day, operates in 85% of the largest 150 markets in the U.S. and Canada. Founder’s grandson Richard Farmer, 73, joined in 1957, became CEO in 1968, stepped down in 1995 and is now chairman; he owns almost 14% of stock. His son Scott, 48, is the CEO.

64. 84 Lumber Co. (83)
Hardy family
Building materials/Eighty Four, PA
Founded: 1956
Revenues: $3.9 billion
Employees: 9,500
Joseph Hardy founded lumber retailer 84 Lumber and built it into leading low-cost privately held lumber yard chain. Slowdown in construction market forced the company to close more than 50 stores (leaving 380 stores in 35 states) and put on hold ambitious plans to open 125 new stores by the end of 2009. Joseph Hardy was known for penny-pinching (no air conditioning or heating in stores) and his blunt management style (fired multiple-sclerosis-stricken son in 1988). Joseph, 85, remains CEO; tomboy daughter Maggie Hardy Magerko, now 42, a college dropout, learned business from her father, took over in 1992, installed air conditioning and heat in some stores. She owns about 80% of company.

65. * Hasbro Inc. (63)
Hassenfeld family
Toys, home entertainment/Pawtucket, RI
Founded: 1923
Revenues: $3.84 billion
Employees: 5,900
America’s #2 toy maker (behind Mattel), run successively by three sets of brothers. Founders Henry and Hillel Hassenfeld were Polish emigrants who evolved from rags into pencil boxes. In the second generation, Harold Hassenfeld ran a pencil plant; his brother Merrill took the company into toys during World War II. Merrill’s son and successor Stephen, who grew the company, died of AIDS at age 47 in 1989; his brother Alan succeeded him. Alan stepped down as non-executive chairman in 2008 but still serves on the board and owns nearly 10%.

66. Belk Inc. (80)
Belk family
Department stores/Charlotte, NC
Founded: 1888
Revenues: $3.824 billion
Employees: 28,900
William H. Belk (1862-1952) opened a small bargain store in Monroe, N.C., with $750 in savings and a $500 loan; he promoted the store as the “Cheapest Store on Earth.” His physician brother John Belk (d. 1928) joined in 1891. Their innovations (large volume, low mark-up, no haggling, all returns accepted) fueled growth. Today the company owns 300 fashion stores in 16 states since purchasing Parisian chain from Saks. The founder ran the company until his death at age 89. Founding brothers’ descendants hold the majority of stock, managers the rest. John M. Belk (d. 2007) retired in 2004 after 50 years as CEO and almost 25 years as chairman; he served four terms as Charlotte’s mayor from 1969 to 1977. His nephew Thomas M. (“Tim”) Belk Jr. Tim Jr., 53, is chairman and CEO. Tim’s brothers H.W. McKay Belk and John R. Belk are chief merchandising officer and chief operating officer, respectively, and are co-presidents with Tim Belk.

67. Schneider National Inc. (70)
Schneider family
Trucking/Green Bay, WI
Founded: 1938
Revenues: $3.7 billion
Employees: 20,000
Al Schneider started the business was started with one truck. Son Donald joined after graduating from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, introduced technology to trucking (first to install satellite-based communications tracking system to find lost trailers). The company grew by acquiring its competitors. Today it has 15,500 drivers and 48,000 trailers and is expanding globally, Donald, 72, stepped down as CEO in 2002 and remains chairman.

68. * Simon Property Group Inc. (77)
Simon family
Real estate development/Indianapolis, IN
Founded: 1959
Revenues: $3.65 billion
Employees: 5,100
New York tailor’s son Melvin Simon moved to Indianapolis from New York and became a leasing agent in 1957. With brothers Herb and Fred, he blanketed the Midwest with shopping centers and merged with rival DeBartolo in 1996 to create the nation’s largest shopping center real estate investment trust. The company currently owns or runs 320 malls, shopping centers and outlet centers, including Minnesota’s giant Mall of America and Washington’s Pentagon City. Melvin and Herb, 81 and 73, are chairmen emeritus; Melvin’s son David, 46, is the current chairman and CEO. Fred is no longer involved.

69. * J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (84)
Hunt family
Trucking/Lowell, AR
Founded: 1969
Revenues: $3.49 billion
Employees: 5,916
Arkansas sharecropper’s son Johnnie B. Hunt (d. 2006) started as a truck driver hauling rice and poultry. He started his own trucking company in 1969 with five trucks and seven refrigerated trailers. J.B. Hunt is now the #2 truckload carrier in the U.S. (behind Schneider National), with more than 10,400 tractors and some 34,000 containers operating in 48 contiguous U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. The founder’s family owns 28% of thecompany. Johnnie’s son, Bryan, serves on the board.

70. Raley’s Inc. (54)
Teel family
Food and drug stores/West Sacramento, CA
Founded: 1935
Revenues: $3.4 billion
Employees: 15,000
Arkansan Thomas P. Raley, the 13th of 14 children, quit his job as a Safeway store manager (1935) to open his own grocery in Placerville, Calif. He introduced drive-in markets, pre-packaged meats, side-by-side drug and grocery stores, etc. Today the company has 130 supermarkets and is the largest family-owned company in the greater Sacramento region. The founder’s only child, Joyce, worked in the store as teen, married co-worker Jim Teel, returned in 1985 and took over with her husband after father’s death (1991). Joyce, 78, and Jim are now co-chairmen; Teels’ son, four daughters and sons-in-law are also active. raley’s acquired the Bel-Air chain from the Wong family in 1992 and the Nob Hill chain from the Bonfante family in 1998. The first non-family member was named to run the business in 2002.

71. Perdue Inc. (68)
Perdue family
Poultry, agribusiness/Salisbury, MD
Founded: 1920
Revenues: $3.35 billion
Employees: 22,000
Arthur Perdue started a table-egg poultry farm; his son Frank (d. 2005) joined in 1939 as the third full-time employee. Frank grew the company via his high-visibility role as spokesman in TV and radio ads; Perdue was the first branded chicken. Frank’s son Jim succeeded him as CEO and spokesperson in 1991. The company’s agribusiness produces corn, soybeans and soybean oil.

72. Sheetz Inc. (97)
Sheetz family
Convenience stores/Altoona, PA
Founded: 1952
Revenues: $3.31 billion
Employees: 10,650
The company, founded in 1952 by Bob Sheetz, now operates 350 super-sized convenience stores (about twice the size of an average 7-Eleven) in Pennsylvania and some nearby states. Brother Stephen Sheetz, 60, is chairman; Bob’s son Stanton Sheetz, 52, is president and CEO; Louie Sheetz is EVP of marketing; Joseph Sheetz is EVP of finance.

73. J.R. Simplot Co. (58)
Simplot family
Food, agribusiness/Boise, ID
Founded: 1928
Revenues: $3.3 billion
Employees: 10,000
Founder Jack Simplot (d. 2008 at age 99) ran away from home while in eighth grade. He started by sorting potatoes and expanded into vegetables, fertilizer, cattle and food processing. He became a millionaire by age 30, supplied dehydrated potatoes and vegetables to U.S. troops in World War II and pioneered frozen French fries in the 1950s. Son Scott is chairman; his siblings Gay Simplot and J.E. “Ted” Simplot are directors and executive committee members. The Simplots are believed to control all stock.

74. * Brown-Forman Corp. (78)
Brown family
Beverages/Louisville, KY
Founded: 1870
Revenues: $3.282 billion
Employees: 4,400
Pharmaceutical salesman George Garvin Brown and his half-brother started with $5,500; they created the first sealed bottles for whiskey. The company’s 35 brands include Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Korbel champagne. It began closing Dansk outlet stores in 2004; it sold its Lenox china subsidiary in 2005 and Hartmann luggage in 2006. Fourth-generation member Owsley Brown II, 65, stepped down as CEO in 2005; he remained chairman until 2008. George Garvin Brown IV, 38, is vice president; brand director, Europe and Africa; and vice president of Brown-Forman Beverages Europe. Martin S. Brown Jr., 44, and Dace Brown Stubbs, 61, serve on the board. The founding family owns 60% of the company.

75. * Molex Inc. (101)
Krehbiel family
Computer peripherals/Lisle, IL
Founded: 1938
Revenues: $3.266 billion
Employees: 33,000
Fred Krehbiel invented Molex, an inexpensive plastic molding material for toys, and flowerpots. His son John Sr. (d. 1993) took the company into electrical components. It’s now a leading connector manufacturer, with 52 plants in 19 countries. Third-generation member John Jr., 70, was president until July 1999, when first non-family president was appointed. He and brother Fred, 67, remain co-chairmen. John’s son Peter is president of the connector products division.

76. * The New York Times Co. (55)
Sulzberger family
Newspapers/New York, NY
Founded: 1851
Revenues: $3.2 billion
Employees: 22,100
Tennessean Adolph Ochs (1858-1935) bought the Times in 1896 and rescued it from New York’s penny-paper wars by making it America’s most respected newspaper. His son-in-law Arthur H. Sulzberger, publisher 1935-1961, made it the world’s greatest. Sulzbergers have been at the helm ever since; the current chairman and publisher of the Times is the founder’s great-grandson Arthur O. Jr., 57. The company also owns the Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune, about two dozen other regional newspapers, New York radio station WQXR and 35 websites, including, and Baseline StudioSystems, an online database and research service for the film and television industries. It sold all its television stations to a private equity firm in 2007. The family owns less than 20% but controls 70% of voting though a trust. Dissident private equity investors who own 20% have four seats on the board.

77. J.F. Shea Co. Inc. (94)
Shea family
Home builder, contractor/Walnut, CA
Founded: 1876
Revenues: $3.18 billion
Employees: 2,700
Founded as a plumbing business by John Shea; his sons and grandsons built it into one of the nation’s largest privately owned builders (construction, financing, venture capital, civil engineering). John F. Shea is chairman; Peter Shea is executive vice president and president of J.F. Shea Construction; Peter Shea Jr., 41, is president and CEO.

78. * American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (120)
Schottenstein family
Clothing retailer/Pittsburgh, PA
Founded: 1977
Revenues: $3.055 billion
Employees: 11,800
Mall-based retailer operates 990 stores in the U.S. and Canada selling casual apparel and accessories. Also operates AE Magazine, a lifestyle magazine/catalog. The Schottenstein family owns 15%; Jay Schottenstein, 53, is chairman.

79. The Golub Corp. (87)
Golub family
Price Chopper supermarkets/Schenectady, NY
Founded: 1932
Revenues: $3.01 billion
Employees: 22,970
Brothers Ben and Bill Golub opened a grocery warehouse in Schenectady and expanded to retailing. The company now runs more than 115 low-cost Price Chopper supermarkets in the northeastern U.S. The Golub family owns about 45%, employees the rest. Two Golubs (chairman Lewis, president/CEO Neil) are at helm; four other Golubs are in management.

80. JohnsonDiversey Inc. (82)
Johnson family
Floor care, hygiene, etc./Sturtevant, WI
Founded: 1886 (spun off in 1999)
Revenues: $2.93 billion
Employees: 11,000
Formerly S.C. Johnson Commercial Markets; split off in 1999 from S.C. Johnson & Son (see #38 above). Johnson family controls two-thirds, Unilever the rest. Consists of two main divisions: Johnson Wax Professional and Johnson Polymer. The company operates in more than 50 countries. Samuel C. (Curt) Johnson III, 52, is chairman.

81. The Walsh Group (121)
Walsh family
Construction/Chicago, IL
Founded: 1898
Revenues: $2.9 billion
Employees: 3,000
The company has built a vast array of major projects (highways, bridges, skyscrapers, hospitals, shopping malls, prisons, etc.) since its inception. Matthew Walsh is the current chairman and CEO; Daniel Walsh is president.

82. Alex Lee Inc. (93)
George family
Food services/Hickory, NC
Founded: 1931
Revenues: $2.8 billion
Employees: 10,500
The food wholesaler/retailer, founded by Alex and Lee George, is a holding company for four Southeastern food/warehousing companies: Merchants Distributors Inc., a wholesale food and merchandise distributor; Lowe’s Food Stores Inc., a supermarket operator; Institution Food House Inc., a food service distributor; and Consolidation Services, a public warehousing company. Alex Lee serves its own food stores as well as other independent retail operations, supermarkets and convenience stores. The company is also a food service provider for restaurants, schools and other institutions. Boyd George is chairman and CEO.

Thomas F. Gilbane Jr.

‘In a family company, it’s tempting to keep tight control within the family. Gilbane functioned that way for almost 100 years, but moving away from our autocratic roots has allowed us to expand outside of New England and become a leading national builder.’

Thomas F. Gilbane Jr., president and CEO of Gilbane Inc. (#83), in Family Business, Winter 2006.


83. Gilbane Inc. (64)
Gilbane family
Construction/Providence, RI
Founded: 1873
Revenues: $2.79 billion
Employees: 2,024
Founded by brothers William and Thomas Gilbane as a carpentry and general contracting shop. It’s now a real estate developer and contractor (National Air and Space Museum, Terminal V at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Lake Placid’s 1980 Olympics facilities). Paul J. Choquette Jr., 69, chairman, is a fourth-generation descendant of the founding brothers. Robert V. Gilbane is president and CEO of Gilbane Development Co. William J. Gilbane Jr. is president and COO of Gilbane Building Co. Thomas F. Gilbane Jr. is president and CEO of Gilbane Inc. and chairman and CEO of Gilbane Building Co. All are company directors.

84. * Amkor Technology Inc. (113)
Kim family
Semiconductors/Chandler, AZ
Founded: 1968
Revenues: $2.739 billion
Employees: 21,600
Top provider of semiconductor packaging and test services. Founded by current CEO James Kim, 72, initially as the U.S. marketing branch of a South Korean company started by his father. Nearly two-thirds of sales come from outside U.S. The Kim family owns 44%.

85. E.&J. Gallo Winery (110)
Gallo family
Wines/Modesto, CA
Founded: 1933
Revenues: $2.7 billion
Employees: 5,000
Company is still headquartered on the 325-acre site where Ernest and Julio Gallo started the business. Vintner Julio was killed in truck accident in 1993; marketer Ernest (d. 2007, age 97) passed the majority of his 50% ownership in trusts to the second and third generations. It’s now the largest family-owned winery in the world. Ernest’s son Joe Gallo, 65, is president and CEO. Julio’s son Robert, 73, and Julio’s son-in-law Jim Coleman, 71, are co-chairs of the board. Today 15 Gallo family members work in the business: three from the second generation, ten from the third and two from the fourth. Joe’s three children and Bob’s eight children were all raised on vineyards. Most visible: Julio’s granddaughter Gina Gallo, 40, one of Sonoma’s three top winemakers and the face of company’s TV ads. Once identified exclusively with low-end brands, the company has expanded into the premium wine market.

86. J.E. Dunn Construction Group Inc. (NR)
Dunn family
Construction/Kansas City, MO
Founded: 1924
Revenues: $2.65 billion
Employees: 3,000
Founded by John Ernest Dunn (d. 1964) in 1924 as a residential contractor. Today it is one of country’s top general builders (H&R Block world headquarters, Three Rivers Hotel Casino in Portland, Ore., Atwood Hall Laboratory at Emory University), with six operating companies housed in 20 offices around the country. William H. Dunn Sr., 85, chairman emeritus, ran the business with his brother, Ernie Jr.; bought out Ernie Jr. in 1974. Bill’s son Terry Dunn, 58, is now president/CEO. His brother Stephen Dunn, 56, is vice chairman/treasurer; Bill Dunn Jr., 60, is chairman of J.E. Dunn Logistics Inc.

87. Chick-fil-A Inc. (NR)
Cathy family
Fast-food restaurants/Atlanta, GA
Founded: 1946
Revenues: $2.64 billion
Employees: 6,152
S. Truett Cathy and his brother Ben opened a 24-hour diner, the Dwarf Grill, in 1946; opened second location in 1951. After a fire destroyed the second restaurant, they ventured into self-serve restaurants in malls, then a new concept. The chain now has about 1,400 restaurants in nearly 40 states. Truett’s son Dan T. Cathy is president and chief officer; his brother Donald M. (Bubba) Cathy is senior vice president and president of Dwarf House (11 restaurants in Atlanta area). The family are devout Baptists; restaurant operators must agree to close their stores on Sundays.

88. * Perot Systems Corp. (125)
Perot family
Information technology/Plano, TX
Founded: 1988
Revenues: $2.612 billion
Employees: 23,100
Data-processing pioneer-cum-reform-politician H. Ross Perot formed this computer outsourcing company after leaving Electronic Data Systems Corp., which he sold to General Motors. Perot, 78, remains chairman emeritus. His son Ross Jr., succeeded him in 2000; became chairman in 2004. A non-family member, Peter Altabef, has been president and CEO since 2004. The family owns about 25% of the company.

89. Milliken & Co. (50)
Milliken family
Textiles/Spartanburg, SC
Founded: 1865
Revenues: $2.58 billion
Employees: 10,000
Deering Milliken, a small woolen fabrics firm in Portland, Maine, was started by William Deering and Seth Milliken, who later bought out his partner. The company moved to New York in 1868 and to South Carolina 1884. It’s now one of world’s largest textile manufacturers, with 55 fabric and chemicals plants worldwide. Grandson Roger Milliken, now 92, has led company since 1947. Family ownership extends beyond four generations. Some stock was sold to outsiders in the late 1980s.

90. * O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (NR)
O’Reilly family
Auto parts, tools, etc./Springfield, MO
Founded: 1957
Revenues: $2.522 billion
Employees: 21,920
Founded by as a single store Charles F. O’Reilly and his son Charles H. (“Chub”). Completed an IPO in 1993 and grew by acquisition; the company now has more than 3,200 stores nationwide and an online business. Sells aftermarket parts, automotive tools, service equipment and accessories. Acquisition of CSK Auto in 2008 nearly doubled its size. David E. O’Reilly is chairman; Lawrence P. O’Reilly and Charles H. O’Reilly Jr. are vice chairmen.

91. The J.M. Smucker Co. (NR)
Smucker family
Jams, jellies, other food products/Orrville, OH
Founded: 1897
Revenues: $2.52 billion
Employees: 3,250
Jerome Monroe Smucker first pressed cider (made from apples grown from Johnny Appleseed’s trees, according to company lore) at a mill he opened in 1897; he added apple butter and sold it with his son, Willard, from the back of a horse-drawn wagon. The company began selling preserves and jellies in 1923. Acquired Jif peanut butter and Crisco oils and shortening from Procter & Gamble in 2002. Completed the acquisition of International Multifoods Corp. (Hungry Jack, Pillsbury, Pet evaporated milk) in 2004. Agreed to acquire the Folgers brand from Procter & Gamble in 2008. Fourth-generation members Timothy P. Smucker and Richard K. Smucker are co-CEOs.

92 (tie). Asplundh Tree Expert Co. (124)
Asplundh family
Vegetation management/Willow Grove, PA
Founded: 1928
Revenues: $2.4 billion
Employees: 28,831
Swedish-American brothers Carl, Griffith and Lester Asplundh started trimming trees around power lines for utilities, railroads, etc. They were joined by gardener brother Oswald in 1936, and by founders’ seven sons in 1950s. Three served as chairman in the 1990s. The company now serves utilities and municipalities in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand and has 15 subsidiaries and special services divisions. Second-generation member Christopher Asplundh is CEO and chairman; third-generation member Scott Asplundh is president.

92 (tie). Leprino Foods Co. (104)
Leprino family
Cheese/Denver, CO
Founded: 1950
Revenues: $2.4 billion
Employees: 3,000
Italian immigrant Michael Leprino Sr. arrived in the U.S. in 1914 and started making cheese for local grocers in 1950. The company is now the world’s largest maker of mozzarella cheese and a big provider to pizza chains (Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, etc) and other food companies. Also produces whey protein concentrate and lactose for animal feed, yogurt, baby formula, etc. James Leprino, 69, is chairman.

Robert E. Rich Jr.

‘For me, a family business does not just mean those with the same last name that’s on the door. It means treating everyone like family.’

Robert E. Rich Jr., chairman of Rich Products Corp. (tied for #92), in Family Business, Spring 2007.


92 (tie). Rich Products Corp. (107)
Rich family
Coffee Rich, frozen foods/Buffalo, NY
Founded: 1945
Revenues: $2.4 billion
Employees: 6,500
Robert Rich Sr., son of Buffalo dairy processor, learned about soybean-based whipped topping as war food administrator during World War II. Idea led to liquid non-dairy creamer Coffee Rich. Company later expanded into frozen breads, cookies, cakes. Now 2,000 products and plants on four continents. Robert Sr. died in 2006 at age 92. Son Robert Jr., 67, is chairman, his wife Melinda (Mindy) Rich, 50, is vice chairman. William G. Gisel Jr. was named the company’s first non-family president and CEO in 2006. Robert Jr.’s son Robert E. Rich III, 40, is president of the company’s worldwide transportation and logistics subsidiary, brother Theodore, 38, is vice president of international marketing. Robert Jr.’s nephews David Jr., 38, and Steven, 33, work in engineering and culinary services, respectively. Rich’s Entertainment Group owns and operates businesses in the sports and entertainment, restaurant and logistics industries, including the Buffalo Bisons baseball team.

92 (tie). Schnuck Markets Inc. (85)
Schnuck family
Supermarkets/St. Louis, MO
Founded: 1939
Revenues: $2.4 billion
Employees: 15,000
Founded as small St. Louis grocery store, now operates 100 hypermarkets (drugs, florist, salad bars, videos, etc.) in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana. Chain stresses friendliness; still family-owned and -run. Craig Schnuck, 59, stepped down as CEO in 2006, but remains on board; Scott, 58, is now chairman and CEO; Todd, 48, CFO.

96. Follett Corp. (105)
Follett family
College bookstores/River Grove, IL
Founded: 1873
Revenues: $2.37 billion
Employees: 10,000
World’s largest operator of college bookstores, with more than 750 in the U.S. and Canada. The company also provides books and multimedia materials to elementary schools and public libraries and sells new and used college textbooks online. Purchased online competitor Varsity Group in 2008 for $3.8 million. The Follett family has owned and managed the company for four generations.

97. * Weis Markets Inc. (91)
Weis family
Grocery stores/Sunbury, PA
Founded: 1912
Revenues: $2.32 billion
Employees: 18,000
The company runs about 155 grocery stores, mostly in Pennsylvania. Warring factions of the Weis family settled their differences in 2001 when some family members sold their 35%-plus stake. Remaining in control is chairman Robert F. Weis, 88, who owns 65%.

98. * A.O. Smith Corp. (119)
Smith family
Motors/Milwaukee, WI
Founded: 1874
Revenues: $2.312 billion
Employees: 16,200
The company makes electric motors and water heaters; its customers include Lowe’s and Sears. U.S. customers account for about 75% of the company’s sales. Still controlled by the founding Smith family. Bruce Smith, 59, and Mark Smith, 46, sit on the board.

99. * The McClatchy Co. (139)
McClatchy family
Newspapers/Sacramento, CA
Founded: 1857
Revenues: $2.26 billion
Employees: 15,748
Newspaper chain publishes 30 dailies in 29 U.S. markets, including the Miami Herald and Sacramento Bee, plus 50 non-daily papers and news websites. The McClatchy family controls more than 90% of the company’s voting power; several family members serve on the board. Acquired Knight-Ridder Inc. in 2006; after divesting itself of 12 Knight-Ridder newspapers, it retained 20 Knight-Ridder dailies and dozens of non-daily newspapers and digital assets. In August 2008, it sold its Real Cities Network to Centro, an online media buying and planning platform operator.

100. Mary Kay Inc. (116)
Ash family
Cosmetics/Addison, TX
Founded: 1963
Revenues: $2.25 billion
Employees: 4,500
Nation’s #2 direct seller of beauty products (behind Avon). More than 200 of its products are sold by 1.7 million mostly female sales reps. Famous for sales incentives (pink Cadillacs, etc.). Mary Kay Ash (d. 2001) founded the company with her 20-year-old son, Richard Rogers, and $5,000 in savings. Her family owns most of the company. Rogers is executive chairman.