C&B Notes

In It For The Long Term

We have a profound appreciation for family-owned businesses that take advantage of a controlling shareholder position to promote a long-term orientation to value creation. This interview with Mars CEO Grant Reid underscores this type of stewardship. 

Bloomberg: What are the advantages of working for a 100-plus-year-old, family-owned, privately held, secretive business? 

Grant Reid: The fact that I can sit down and talk to family members. It is their business, and they really care — about the brands, about our associates.  That’s a big difference.  They take very little out.  They reinvest in us.  They reinvest in the consumer.  That’s one big difference in terms of the dividend level vs. some other companies.  It’s their approach and their love for the business.  My job is to make sure that I’m setting us up for the next 100 years.  To do that, you need a vibrant company that’s growing, that’s bringing in the best talent. 

B: How many more generations of the Mars family will the company pass through? 

GR: Our vision is to keep our company privately held forever.  We have “G3” still very active.  We have a number of G4 on the board, and we have a number of G5 and G6. 

B: You mentioned Mars is about a $35 billion-a-year business. What do you want that number to be, and how do you get there? 

GR: We think we can double it in the next 10 years.  We’ve grown several billion in the last couple of years.  But it’s not just about growth for the sake of growth.  Part of what we do is for higher-order purposes:  The way we do business today creates the world we want tomorrow.  We believe we have a sustainable generation plan.  We believe the bigger we are, the more good we can do.  But it’s not just about being big.  Performance without purpose is meaningless.  Similarly, purpose without performance isn’t possible.  It’s that magic combination. 

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