As a sixth-generation leader in his family’s meat processing business, Compaxo, Michael van der Post walks a virtual tightrope. He must honour five generations of his family’s business legacy while at the same time ensuring Compaxo’s sustainability with forward-facing strategy.
Headquartered in Gouda in the Netherlands, Compaxo can trace its roots back to 1896 when Johannes van der Post opened a pork butcher’s shop. Since then, Compaxo has grown into one of Europe’s most successful pork processing operations. Today, Michael van der Post is one of 13 shareholders tasked with guiding this century-old operation through the era of digital disruption.
On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Michael van der Post and Ramia discuss balancing tradition with the need to adapt to a rapidly changing industry.
– With a total of 13 family owners in the business, maintaining harmony can sometimes be challenging. For Compaxo, it comes down to trust and clearly defined roles within the family. This way, there is room for everyone’s ambition, and individuals can advance as far as they like within the business.
– Michael and his generation of leaders often look to the experience of their predecessors. Once every couple of months, the older generation comes together to offer formal advice and guidance where needed.
– However, it’s important to maintain a balance between the traditions of Compaxo’s past and the need to innovate. The processed meats industry is changing rapidly, and new ideas, like vegetarian options, for example, must be part of the equation to ensure Compaxo’s continuity.