Bonnier Group: Sweden's Leading Family Owned Business

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Case Details:

Case Code: BSTR238
Case Length: 17 Pages
Period: 1990-2006
Organization: Bonnier AB
Pub Date: 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries: Sweden
Themes: Family-Owned Business | Corporate Governance
Industry: Media, Entertainment, and Gaming

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"The key to success during these two hundred years has been the three fundamental values of responsibility, quality and the freedom of speech."1

- Carl-Johan Bonnier, Chairman of the Board, Bonnier AB, in 2005.

"Hundreds of business-owning families have benefited from the Bonnier family's experience and efforts. They were pioneers in supporting family business education and research. The cases and research articles about their experience offer special insights into how large and old business families build special cultures for their family members and employees." 2

- John L. Ward, Co-Director of the Center for Family Enterprises and Clinical Professor of Management and Strategy at the Kellogg School, in 2004.

The Recognition

In 2004, Kellogg School of Management conferred the Kellogg Award for Special Contributions to Family Business on the Bonnier family of Sweden.

The Bonnier family owned The Bonnier Group, which had businesses in the areas of publishing, media, entertainment, and information. The annual award was presented to family-owned businesses for promoting their values.

The award recognized the contribution the Bonnier family had made for the benefit of other business families and its contribution to the field of education and research on family-owned businesses.

In 2003, during the 14th Annual Family Business Network World conference held at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD),3 the Bonnier Group was awarded the 'IMD - Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch Distinguished Family Business Award.'4 The award recognized the globally operating multi-generation company that had achieved both family and business goals and had contributed to the global economy.

The award was instituted to recognize the best practices of a business family that benefited other family-owned companies. It was given to families whose enterprises had reached at least the third generation of family ownership and management. IMD announced, "Bonnier is an outstanding example of a larger, multi-generation family business with a structured, highly professional, and transparent approach to governance, continually nurturing the family interests in and around the business through permanent cross-fertilization of family and business based on values." 5

According to Carl-Johan Bonnier (Carl-Johan), Chairman of the Board, Bonnier Group, "We are a media company that has been functioning as a family-owned company for nearly 200 years.

This interaction between the company and its owners over such a long period is a significant factor. It has established traditions that are crucial for the Group and has ensured that certain deep-seated values permeate our operations". 6

The Bonnier family were the founding partners of 'the Family Business Network' in Sweden and also lent their support to 'The Family Business Network International. 7

Bonnier Group: Sweden's Leading Family Owned Business - Next Page>>

1] "51st Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the British-Swedish Chamber of Commerce", British Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Sweden, April 13, 2005.

2] "Kellogg School of Management Honors Bonnier Family of Sweden for its Special Contributions to Family Business",, May 04, 2004.

3] Based in Lausanne, Switzerland, IMD is one of the leading business schools in the world. IMD provides executive education to individuals and also to international businesses .

4] The annual award was presented by IMD in partnership with Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie, a Geneva based private bank. The winners of the award included Lego, Denmark (1996), Hermès, France (1997), Puig, Spain (1998), Henkel, Germany (1999), Zegna, Italy (2000), Murugappa, India (2001), SC Johnson, US (2002), Barilla, Italy (2004) and Votorantim, Brazil (2005).

5] "Bonnier - Swedish Media Company Honored as Top Family Business", IMD Press Room, September 26, 2003.

6] "Bonnier - Swedish Media Company Honored as Top Family Business", IMD Press Room, September 26, 2003.

7] Family Business Network International is a leading network of business owning families that was created with the objective of creating worldwide network of communications and contacts to help business owning families meet the challenges of globalized business.


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