Luciano Benetton will hand over the helm of the Italian fashion clothing company (BNG.MI) he helped found 47 years ago to his son this week, he said in an interview published on Sunday. Benetton and his family turned the company into one of Italy’s best known brands with more than 6,500 stores in 120 countries and a reputation for controversial advertising and bold colors, but it has struggled against new competitors. “The baton passes to my son Alessandro, who will become chairman,” Benetton, who turns 77 in May, said in an interview published in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. “After a run of 47 years, on Tuesday I will resign from the duties I hold in the company I founded with my siblings.” – Reuters

I actually read this story with not a small amount of disbelief. A family-run global business? In this day and age of smaller separated units of families? In the era of Internet-connected ‘friends’ and knowing that slowly and surely we are losing our interpersonal human touch? In this age of big business and monetary gain? It’s amazing to hear things like this. So, yes, they are Italian and the idea of the extended family (and family businesses) probably remains strong there, but it’s still great to have achieved this. The secret is probably that as Benetton develops it remains true to its roots, reliably reinventing themselves against fierce competitors but still keeping a bit of family and soul in their business. I love it.