The well-known and growing family jewellery business, Michael Hill, has re-appointed the daughter of its founder as Chair, and made a strong statement about the competitive advantage that a family-led brand enjoys. Families looking to strengthen corporate governance by appointing non-executive independent directors should not overlook the powerful market impact of a strong and respected family member as leader.
Michael Hill International launched in 1979, with one shop opened in Whangarei, a small city of just 54,000 people, but today has 300 stores across Australia, New Zealand and North America. The jewellery business, which is now headquartered in Australia, last year had revenues of AU$505.6 million. The Hill family owns 53% of shares. An independent director on the board defended the appointment of Emma Hill, pointing to the competitive value of family-led brands as one reason why she made a suitable candidate. “Effectively the independent directors on the board wanted continuity of that family founder profile which is a powerful asset compared to companies that do not have that,” the director said.