Tiziana Frescobaldi talks family business
Now in its 30th generation, the Frescobaldi Family have been producing wine in Tuscany since the beginning of the 14th century. We caught up Tiziana Frescobaldi, to find out more.
Managing a business while preserving a family’s integrity and preventing conflict is challenging. As the family has grown, we’ve introduced a number of rules around family members admission to the business. There is a managerial path for those who are skilled and qualified to assume operative roles in the company and a collaboration path for those who wish to gain experience for a defined period.
My father’s generation had the foresight to involve advisers from outside the family. We continue to work with external family business specialists, including marketers, consumer researchers and lawyers as well as viniculture specialists. Over the years, it has been essential for the growth of the Frescobaldi business to take the advice of external advisers to empower the right future leaders. Today, our turnover is over €125m. We have 1,300 hectares of vineyards across the estates and over 600 employees.
Robust governance structures are crucial to the smooth-running of our business. The Frescobaldi business is divided into two companies with distinct roles. The holding company manages the company shares. Its board of directors is formed by a majority of family members, appointed with the aim of ensuring a balanced representation of all family branches.
On the other hand, the operating company manages all the business’ agricultural, production and commercial activities in order to ensure growth and profitability. The board of directors – half are non-family members – have all been chosen for their competence and experience.
A common purpose is key to achieving our number one goal – to keep the family united. Years ago, my father wrote the wider family a letter expressing his wishes for the future. In it, he urged the next generation to learn what they could from previous generations but to have the courage to innovate and make changes where they saw fit. As a family, we work hard to maintain that sense of continuity and common purpose. One way we do this is to come together and meet both at large family assemblies and smaller, less formal meetings.
The Frescobaldis have been patrons of the arts since the Middle Ages. It is another way we create a shared purpose. Today, we support artists through the Artisti per Frescobaldi Contemporary Art prize. One of the main reasons for launching the project was to connect to our ancestral history. It is also a great way to involve the younger generations – the artists are similar ages and speak the same language.