When Roger Lee became CEO of one of the world’s largest fashion manufacturers in his late-thirties, he had several role models to emulate.
Chief among them were his father, Harry, and his grandfather, C.C., the founder of TAL Group — the company behind high street retail giants Banana Republic, Marks & Spencer and Patagonia.
But, for the former IT consultant who switched industries to replace his dad as CEO of the family business, following in his predecessors’ footsteps was not on his agenda.
In fact, according to Lee, refusing their advice has been key to the company’s success.
“A lot of family businesses from generation to generation fail,” Lee, now 46, told CNBC in a recent episode of “Managing Asia.”
“I think we’re very fortunate that, touch wood, so far we’ve been successful,” he said.
Lee’s grandfather launched TAL Group in 1947 in a bid to revive the family’s century-old textile business. Over the past 70 years, the Hong Kong-headquartered company has gone from strength to strength under three generations of the family.