Jebsen & Jessen Family Enterprise: A Hong From the Cold

Case Solution

Benoit Leleux, Marta Widz
IMD ()

Singapore, September 2016. For the Jebsen and Jessen families, Asia had been a foster home for over 120 years, not counting the years their ancestors were Danish seafarers in the treacherous waters of Asia. By 1895, two of them had put down roots in Hong Kong and established their first trading house, one of Hong Kong’s original foreign residents in the colony. From these humble beginnings, emerged a powerful group with more than $ 4.5 billion in sales and more than 7,700 employees with four major companies: Hong Kong-based Jebsen & Co.; Jebsen & Jessen (SEA), based in Singapore; Jebsen & Jessen Hamburg, your global business house; and GMA Garnet, a world leader in the extraction, processing, distribution and recycling of industrial garnet. The family business survived many near-death experiences through wars and revolutions, gradually developed from a pure commercial company, initially established as a preferred partner for world-leading companies such as Porsche or Demag, and later integrated. more closely along the value chain through vertical integration and diversified its geographic presence in frontier markets such as Indonesia and Myanmar. The future looked promising for the third generation, but history had taught the family never to rest on its laurels. The governance structure meant that ownership and control were concentrated in a limited number of hands. Could current leaders identify, nurture and incentivize the next generation? How did you get the whole family involved? From a business perspective, how far should vertical integration and geographic diversification go? How should you react to the recent slowdown in China? Was there a natural limit to CSR activities?

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