March/April 2011
Volume 31 No. 2

March/April
View complete issue as a PDF»

Father & Daughter Teams: Sure Formula For Success

Granted, there are many more father and son teams in the international entertainment industry than there are father and daughter teams. Indeed, we exhausted all our resources just to come up with 24 of such teams from 14 countries, and that was by including past players, such as Albert (Cubby) and Barbara Broccoli.

Another legendary father and daughter team is that of 85-year-old Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and 59-year-old Christie who, up until 2009, ran her father's media empire.

From France there were Gérard Oury and Daniele Oury Thompson who collaborated on movies. Gérard died in 2006 at the age of 87, his daughter Daniele is 69. Currently, in the luxury goods business, there are Bernard and Delphine Arnault, his oldest child (he has five children from two wives). The 61-year-old Bernard is worth $27.5 billion and runs LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, etc.) along with his 36-year-old daughter. Her net worth is estimated at $3.9 billion.

Jan and Cristina Stenbeck represented a team from Sweden. When her father died at the age of 60, New York-born Cristina, then 25 years old, took contol of Kinnevik, which, in turn, controls Modern Times Group, one of Sweden's largest TV groups.

From Mexico: Televisa's Emilio Azcárraga Milmo, who died in 1997 at the age of 66, and his daughter, Ariana Azcárraga de Surmont, from his second wife (he had five wives, three daughters and one son). Ariana is now 45 years old and, until recently, she was chairman of Televisa Networks (formerly Visat).

Perhaps it is because such teams are rare and hard to come by that they tend to be more successful than others. Forbes reported that, according to a 2009 study from the University of Maryland, only six percent of women born in the early 1900s went into their father's industry, compared with about 20 percent of those born between 1960 and 1980.

Even though father and daughter teams in the entertainment sector are few, other industries have even fewer. For example, in the construction business, the only prominent example is the U.S. real estate firm of Donald and Ivanka Trump. In finance there is the team of Edward III and Abigail Johnson of Fidelity Investments. From Canada, the former team of Frank and Belinda Stronach ran one of the world's biggest auto parts companies, Magna International.

Mother and daughter teams are also rare in the entertainment business, with the only prominent example coming from 70-year-old Liz (Elisabeth) Mohn and 47-year-old Brigitte Mohn, who own the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann.

Naturally, the list of father and daughter teams is limited to private groups or family-controlled public companies, since in pure publicly-traded companies nepotism can be illegal (in countries such as Italy) or fall under discrimination laws or investigations by trading authorities (like in the U.S.).

Geographically, father and daughter teams are mainly scattered throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Latin America.

Latin America tops the list with ten current entries:

  • Venevision: Gustavo and Adriana Cisneros (Venezuela and Florida)
  • SBT: Senor Abravanel (Silvio Santos) and Daniela Beyruti (Brazil)
  • Frequencia Latina: Baruch and Michal (Miki) Ivcher (Peru and Florida)
  • Televicentro: Jose Rafael and Pia Ferrari (Honduras)
  • Ecuavisa: Xavier and Ana Cecilia Alvarado (Ecuador)
  • Albavision: Remigo Angel and Morelia Gonzalez (Florida and Guatemala)
  • Centauro: Gustavo, Andrea and Francoise Nieto (Florida, Colombia and Brazil)
  • Teleunsa: Elias and Diana Asfura (Honduras)
  • Red Uno: Ivo and Jessica Kuljis (Bolivia)
  • Telemicro: Juan Ramon and Ivette Gomez Diaz (Dominican Republic)

One past entry from Mexico:

  • Emilio Azcárraga and Ariana Azcarraga de Surmont

The U.S. follows with four current entries and four past entries:

  • News Corp: Rupert and Liz Murdoch
  • Viacom/CBS: Sumner and Shari Redstone
  • NewsProNet: Rick and Deanna Ray
  • The Lippin Group: Richard (Dick) and Alex Lippin
  • Playboy: Hugh and Christie Hefner
  • Eon Productions: Cubby and Barbara Broccoli
  • Carlos, Maria and Caroline Barba
  • Eduardo and Rosamaria Caballero

Italy has two current entries:

  • Mediaset: Silvio and Marina Berlusconi
  • LUX Vide: Ettore and Matilde Bernabei

One current entry from Canada:

  • Corus Entertainment: James Robert (JR) and Heather Shaw

Two past entries come from Scandinavia:

  • TV Norge: Ola and Benedicte Steinsrud (Norway)
  • Kinnevik: Jan and Cristina Stenbeck (Sweden)

Before moving to individual descriptions, the Broccoli father and daughter team deserves a few more lines for producing the James Bond films. In 1990 at the age of 81, New York-born Albert Romolo Broccoli (affectionately known as Cubby) turned control of Eon Productions over to his then 30-year-old daughter Barbara, who was born in Los Angeles.

Broccoli liked to keep his family close, so the children, Barbara and her half brother Michael G. Wilson, grew up around the Bond film sets. Barbara served in several capacities under her father from the age of 20 and got her first screen credit in the 1983 Bond film Octopussy. Barbara and Michael have co-produced Bond (and non-Bond) films since Albert's death in 1996.

Rome, Italy-based media company, Caltagirone Editore (CE) also deserves to be mentioned. Although it is not in film and television, it is Italy's fifth largest editorial group. A public company, CE is controlled and run by 68-year-old founder Francesco Caltagirone and his 38-year-old daughter Azzurra.

U.S.-based Latin companies of particular importance include The Caballero Radio Network, created in 1973 and run by the founder, Eduardo Caballero then 44, and his daughter Rosamaria, who, in 1999 at age 34 helped him to create a TV network before selling the group to Viacom in 2006.

Among the aforementioned teams about which VideoAge did not receive sufficient information by press time are Honduras' Elias and Diana Asfura from Teleunsa, Bolivia's Ivo and Jessica Kuljis from Red Uno, and the Dominican Republic's Juan Ramon and Ivette Gomez Diaz from Telemicro.

A final annotation: Latin America has always been considered a macho (Spanish for masculine) region. But judging from the large number of daughters that have joined their fathers in business, compared to other regions in the world, one has to conclude that North America or even Europe is more macho, while Latin America is hembra.

GUSTAVO AND ADRIANA CISNEROS

The 66-year-old Gustavo Cisneros has headed Venezuela's Cisneros Group of companies since 1970. He took over nine years after his Cuban-born father, Diego, founded Venevision, Venezuela's largest private broadcaster, in partnership with America's ABC TV network. Today, the Group, one of the world's largest private enterprises, generates $4 billion a year and is comprised of 70 companies operating in 39 countries, making his family one of the wealthiest in the world with an estimated worth of $10.7 billion. Among his prized possessions is the Miss Venezuela beauty pageant, which he acquired in 1980.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Gustavo is also a citizen of Spain and the Dominican Republic and maintains residences in New York City and Miami as well. Indeed, his business philosophy is to view North and South America as a single market. Gustavo was Diego's fourth child out of eight children: seven sons and one daughter, and his younger brother Ricardo is his partner.

Educated in the U.S., Gustavo graduated from Babson College in Massachusetts in 1968 and trained at New York's ABC TV station. In New York in 1970 he married Patricia (Patty) Phelps, whose family founded RCTV, Venevision's competitor.

As with other media moguls, Cisneros walks the fine line between disclosures and business. He's very careful about his and his family's public image. Indeed, very few personal details can be found about his wife Patty or their three children, Carolina, Guillermo and Adriana.

Even in a 2004 book, Gustavo Cisneros Pioneer, which was publicized as Gustavo's biography and the company's history, no mention is made of his three children, except in pictured family photos. It is possible that at the time no command succession had been developed. Recently, however, as per March 2010, Adriana Cisneros, the 31-year-old daughter of Gustavo and the youngest of his three children, has emerged "As a third-generation leader of the Cisneros Group," as stated on the company website, which also points out that, as vice chairman, "She works closely with her father in managing operations and in developing strategy for the Group as a whole."

Adriana joined her father in 2005, moving around four positions before taking her current role as vice chairman. She received a bachelor's degree from Columbia University in 2002 and a master's degree in Journalism from New York University in 2005. Adriana, who's also the mother of a son and a daughter, lives in Manhattan with her husband Nicholas Griffin, a British writer, and in Coral Gables, Florida.

SENOR ABRAVANEL (SILVIO SANTOS) AND DANIELA ABRAVANEL BEYRUTI

Better known as Silvio Santos, 81-year-old Senor Abravanel is one of the most famous Brazilian TV show hosts and entrepreneurs. He is the owner of Silvio Santos Group, which comprises 37 companies, including the Brazilian Television System (SBT) network, one of the top-ranked Brazilian television networks, founded in 1981.

Santos was born in Rio de Janeiro, in the Lapa region. He is of Sephardic Jewish descent. Despite his humble beginnings working as a street vendor, he had a strong affinity for artistic endeavors and took up jobs in radio, television and even at the circus. Silvio Santos' nickname when he was young was, "O peru que fala" (the talking turkey) because of his blushed skin tone. He has always been considered a "born buyer," or someone born for buying companies. He married twice, to Maria Aparecida (who died of cancer in 1977) and Íris, his current wife. He has six daughters, two of them adopted, all working in his group. The second born, Patricia, was kidnapped in 2001 and released soon after, reportedly after her father paid ransom. Daniela Abravanel Beyruti, at 34, is the eldest daughter of Silvio's second marriage. Married to Brazilian businessman Marcelo Beyruti, she started working at SBT in 2003. From 2008 to 2010 she was president of SBT. Since 2010 she has preferred to be the artistic director and programming manager, considering it most important for her career at SBT.

She graduated from two universities in the U.S.: The College of International Communications at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, and Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where she received a master's in Performing Arts. After graduating, she worked as a producer and presenter in Virginia Beach at born-again Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson's CBN. Beyruti's accomplishments include hiring nationally known presenters to the SBT including Roberto Justus and Roberto Cabrini, and running popular shows such as Squadron Fashion, Ten Years Younger, What's Your Talent? and You Remember That? She was also the executive producer of the Brazilian version of American Idol and responsible for putting the American Supernatural in prime time. Daniela also signed an exclusive advertising contract with Corinthians, one of the most popular soccer teams in Brazil. (Maria Zuppello in Sao Paolo, Brazil)

BARUCH AND MICHAL (MIKI) IVCHER

Frecuencia Latina (Canal 2) is a Lima, Peru-based TV station, founded in 1962 that became a national network in 1990. At 44, Israeli-born Baruch Ivcher Bronstein became Frecuencia Latina's main shareholder (54 percent ownership) in 1984, after living in Peru for 14 years.

When the station exposed government corruption in 1997, Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori ordered Ivcher stripped of his Peruvian citizenship (acquired in 1984 in order to own radio and TV stations in the country) and forced him into exile. While Ivcher was in exile, the Peruvian government continued to harass him, and even submitted a warrant for his arrest through Interpol. In 1999, while on a family trip to Crete, he was detained at the airport along with his daughter, Michal, but they were later released.

Since late 1997 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on the Peruvian government to reinstate Ivcher as president of Canal 2 and restore his Peruvian citizenship. But only after the fall of Fujimori in the year 2000 did ownership of Canal 2 revert to Ivcher, and he and his family (wife and four daughters) were able to return to Peru, where he found the channel in deficit of the equivalent of $52 million.

Michal (Miki) Ivcher is Baruch's oldest daughter and the founder and CEO of Miami, Florida-based Frecuencia Latina International (FLI), created in 2001 as a company that exclusively distributes Canal 2's TV productions. In 2004, FLI became independent of Canal 2, even though it continues to distribute its productions and formats worldwide.

An ironic footnote is that Fujimori's 36-year-old daughter, Keiko Sofia, is now one of Peru's potential presidential candidates.

JOSE RAFAEL AND PIA (ROSINA) FERRARI

In 1957, after graduating from the University of Southern California, 23-year-old Jose Rafael Ferrari returned to Honduras to take over the family business. His parents founded HRN, Honduras' first commercial radio station, in 1933 and, in 1957, expanded into television, which later became the Televicentro Group (comprised of nine TV and 11 radio stations).

In 1987 Rafael tapped the youngest of his two daughters, Rosina (who later changed her name to Pia), as his future back up. At that time, Pia was 15 years old and started as a video DJ after school.
Subsequently, Pia left the country to attend college in the U.S. and to be trained at the Univision station in Florida. She returned to Honduras in 1993 to coordinate Televicentro's productions and co-productions and, for a while, anchored the network's main news program. Pia also worked in the promo department and she's currently general programming manager for Latin Acquisitions.

XAVIER AND ANA CECILIA ALVARADO

Xavier Alvarado began his career as a journalist, founding, in 1958, the monthly publication Vistazo in his native Ecuador. In 1967, at the age of 31, Xavier expanded into television with Ecuavisa, now a national TV network.

His oldest daughter Ana Cecilia joined the company at 22 as promotion director in 1984, after receiving a degree in Journalism from Syracuse University, in New York state.

In 1988 Ana returned to the U.S. where in 2000 she developed a telenovela unit for Ecuavisa. In November of last year she relocated to Ecuador where she now presides over Ecuavisa's production unit, Two World Media.

Xavier's other daughter, Silvia, now 45, started to work at Ecuavisa in 1984, climbing to program director. She later moved to Brazil as an advisor to Silvio Santos' SBT.

ANGEL AND MORELIA GONZALEZ

Remigio Angel Gonzalez y Gonzalez (simply known as Angel Gonzalez) is president and owner of Albavision, a Miami, Florida-based group that controls 26 TV stations in 10 Latin American countries, 21 of which it owns while the rest are affiliated for programming. Albavision also controls 82 radio stations (25 of which are owned and operated) and 40 movie theaters in Guatemala and Costa Rica.

Born in 1944 in the north of Mexico, Angel started his television career in 1971. He acquired his first two TV stations in Guatemala in 1981, and moved to Miami in 1987.

He's known for using pencils to negotiate license fees so that figures can be easily erased and replaced with his traditional 25 percent cut. Distributors tend to grumble but like to do business with him because he pays on time.

Angel Gonzalez is assisted in Miami by his oldest daughter, 35-year-old Morelia, who entered her father's company at an early age and now runs the group's financial division. Another daughter, Anita, is a housewife, but her husband, Marco Cuomo, works at Albavision.

VideoAge featured an extensive report about Angel Gonzalez in its January 2010 Issue.

GUSTAVO, FRANCOISE AND ANDREA NIETO

Gustavo Nieto was born in Tunja, Colombia 60 years ago. He studied Film at New York University and worked at the Film Department of the United Nations in New York City before going back to Colombia where he directed feature films. In 1979 Gustavo founded Centauro Group in Bogotá, specializing in language dubbing into Spanish, Portuguese and English. Today, Centauro also produces feature films and TV programs.

In 1988 he opened a studio for dubbing in Miami, Florida (which became the Group's headquarters) and, in 2001, another one in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Earlier, in 1991 Gustavo's two daughters moved to Florida, and seven years later his oldest daughter, Francoise, then 27, went to work with him in his Miami facility. Previously, she attended Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Besides being a successful documentary producer, she now heads the Translations Division and also focuses on Public Relations and Sales.

Gustavo's youngest daughter, Andrea, joined the Group in 2004, when she was 30. She attended Florida International University. Today she's managing director of the Dubbing Operation, based in Miami. Andrea's seven-month-old daughter, Mia, is also "being prepped to eventually join the family business" and she already has a NATPE and this MIP on her resume.

RUPERT AND ELISABETH (LIZ) MURDOCH

The 80-year-old Melbourne, Australia-born Rupert Murdoch is the founder and chairman of News Corp. Elisabeth (Liz), born in 1968 in Sydney, Australia, is his second oldest offspring, out of six children (from three wives).

Rupert Murdoch moved to New York in 1974 and became a U.S. citizen in 1985. By 2010 he controlled 750 businesses in 50 countries and amassed a personal fortune estimated at $6.3 billion.

Liz attended Brearley School in New York City and, after graduating from Vassar College in 1992, she became manager of Program Acquisitions at her father's FX Network in Los Angeles. The Murdoch family left New York for Beverly Hills, CA in 1991.

In 1995 Liz moved with her first husband to London, U.K., as managing director of BSkyB. She's now a citizen of both the U.S. and Britain.

In the year 2000, after disagreements with BSkyB's CEO Sam Chisholm, Liz left the satellite platform and founded Shine in 2001, now holding 53 percent ownership. Other major investors were BSkyB, which held 13 percent and Sony Pictures, with 20 percent (the rest is owned by the company's management). In 2008 Shine acquired Hollywood's Reveille (the U.S. producer of The Office and Ugly Betty) for $156 million.

By 2010 Shine's revenues reached more than U.K. £300 million (U.S.$483 million) with earnings of over £28 million (U.S.$45 million). The U.K. daily, the Guardian, however, estimated that "real pre-tax profits [were] just £2 million ($3.2 million). In addition, the company had debts estimated at $88 million, while an additional $72 million was tapped from shareholders in 2008 and 2009." The Guardian reported that Liz and her two brothers received $100 million each when they agreed to allow Rupert and Wendi Deng's (Rupert's third wife) two young children into the family trust that controls News Corp.

Last January, Liz hired JPMorgan to advise on "growth opportunities," which resulted in a sale to her father's News Corp. for $673 million, including debt. Liz will also take a seat on News Corp.'s board.

In 2009 she declined a seat on the board of her father's company because joining News Corp., which owns 39.1 percent of BSkyB, would have meant Shine would no longer qualify as an independent producer, and would therefore be ineligible to produce for groups such as the BBC and Channel 4. The sale of Shine to News Corp. could indicate that she is a possible successor to Rupert. Liz is also known for her endurance, as she's willing to seclude herself in screening rooms for hours scrutinizing every show she produced or acquired. If personality-wise father and daughter are said to be of similar temperament, they are on the opposite spectrum as far as politics are concerned, with Rupert on the extreme right and Liz on the far left.

SUMNER AND SHARI REDSTONE

Sumner Redstone, 87, is a majority owner and chairman of the board of the National Amusements theater chain, which is the parent company of Viacom and CBS Corporation, among others. His father Michael founded Northeast Theater Corporation, the forerunner of National Amusements, which currently runs more than 950 movie screens in the U.S., the U.K. and Latin America.
Sumner joined his father's theater chain in 1954, and in 1967, at 44, he became president and CEO of National Amusements.

Through National Amusements, he invested in Columbia Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Orion Pictures and Paramount Pictures. In 1987, Sumner won voting control of Viacom, and in 1993, Viacom bought Paramount Pictures.

He has two children by his first wife of 55 years: Brent and Shari Redstone. He has no children with his second wife, from whom he is divorced.

Shari, now 57, is the youngest of Sumner's children. She graduated from Tufts University in 1975, and later received two law degrees at the Boston University School of Law in 1978 and 1980. She worked as a criminal defense lawyer and a corporate attorney until she and her husband divorced in 1994. At that time, when she was 40 years old, she accepted her father's offer to work at National Amusements. By 2000, Shari became president of National Amusements.

According to Boston Magazine, Sumner's trusts make clear that Shari will succeed her father upon his death, provided that she is still on the boards of Viacom and CBS, and Sumner has announced publicly that his stock has been placed in irrevocable trusts for his five grandchildren (Shari has three children of her own). Shari is currently president of National Amusements, non-executive vice-chairman of Viacom and vice-chairman of CBS Corporation. However, Shari and Sumner have publicly feuded over the future of the business, and Sumner has reportedly been reconsidering Shari's role in Viacom and CBS. According to Boston Magazine, in a 2007 letter to Forbes magazine, Sumner stated that shareholders should select the future head of Viacom and CBS Corporation. (Sara Alessi in New York)

RICK AND DEANNA RAY

In 1979, 30-year-old Rick Ray (then a TV station program manager) and his wife Dee, founded Raycom Sports, a collegiate sports production and distribution company in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In 1996, Raycom Sports merged with Ellis Communications, becoming the basis for Raycom Media, now the 12th largest media company in the U.S., operating 45 TV stations in 36 U.S. markets.

After leaving Raycom in 1998, Rick pursued a number of investments including Action Performance, which controls 80 percent of all merchandising for NASCAR-related products. In addition, he's involved in producing long-form cable television programs and has acquired feature film assets.

In 2010 Rick joined Miami, Florida-based NewsProNet's advisory board, although he lives in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

NewsProNet (NPN) is a digital short-form production and distribution company founded in 1997 by Susan Krivelow and Kent Krizik and today owned by its acting chairman, Bob Rodriguez.

Rick's 23-year-old daughter, Deanna (the third oldest of four children), is the only one joining her father in the media industry when, in 2010, she became an account executive for the domestic division at NewsProNet. She graduated from the University of Miami with a B.S. in Communications.

Rick has acquired distribution rights for various projects that Deanna now reps and distributes at NPN (in addition to other programs NPN has rights to).

RICHARD (DICK) AND ALEXANDRA (ALEX) LIPPIN

A former Wall Street-er who also ran political campaigns in Washington, D.C., Dick Lippin is now a Hollywood insider, a power player in the international entertainment arena and a power broker in the U.S.

Lippin operates from The Lippin Group (TLG), a PR agency that he founded in 1986 at age 36 in Hollywood, after a stint at a PR agency that he co-owned in New York City.

His only child, Alexandra, joined the Group in 2006, when she was 25, after graduating from Brandeis University in Boston. Previously, she worked in Hollywood at MTV and Telepictures.

Alex is now TLG's senior VP and heads up the Brand to Hollywood division, one of TLG's eight operating areas employing 40 full-time communications executives in the Los Angeles headquarters and offices in New York City and London.

CARLOS, MARIA AND CAROLINE BARBA

If Cuban-born Carlos had a TV set as a toy in the crib, his daughter Caroline was literally born in a TV studio. That was in 1972, when her 37-year-old father was in New Jersey running WNJU-TV for Columbia Pictures, which later became the flagship TV station of the Spanish-language network, Telemundo. At that time, Carlos' seven-year-old Maria was already sitting in her father's office making commercials for the station.

Later on, after graduating from American University in Washington D.C. in 1997, Maria went to work for her father, then at Univision. She followed Carlos in 1991 when he became president of Venevision International, in Miami as head of Marketing and Public Relations. When, in 1999 Carlos founded UnoDosTres, one of the first Internet TV companies, Maria joined her father as promotion manager.

Caroline, on the other hand, was more interested in working as an artist (her father started as an actor), so in 1999 Carlos helped her to be cast in a telenovela for Univision, which launched her acting career in Hollywood. When Carlos became president of Spanish-language TV network CaribeVision in 2007, he gave Caroline a job hosting for a half-hour entertainment show.

On April 23, 2011 Carlos Barba will receive an award in New York City from the Association of Entertainment Critics, for his 50 years in the television business.

SILVIO AND MARIA ELVIRA (MARINA) BERLUSCONI

Silvio Berlusconi is a 75-year-old Italian broadcaster-turned politician who's the largest shareholder (38.62 percent) of publicly traded multimedia group Mediaset, which, in turn, owns TV networks in Italy and Spain, and also controls Endemol.

Berlusconi is the majority owner of Mediaset through his family's investment group, Fininvest Holding, which is chaired by his Milan-born 45-year-old daughter, Maria Elvira (Marina). Marina is also chairman of the Mondadori Publishing Group, which is owned by Fininvest, and Mediaset's board member. In addition, in the entertainment sector, Fininvest owns Medusa, a film production and distribution company.

Berlusconi, who's now worth U.S.$9 billion, founded Fininvest in 1978 and, in 1996 placed all his film and TV properties in the Mediaset Group as a public company traded on the Milan Stock Exchange, now worth an estimated $9 billion with annual revenues of $4 billion.

After working with her father in several capacities, Marina (who is the oldest of Silvio's five children) became vice-chairman of Fininvest in 1996, in 2003 was appointed chairman of Mondadori and, in 2005, chairman of Fininvest.

According to semi-official documents, Marina began taking an interest in Fininvest in 1991, at the age of 25. She started college (studying law and political science) but never graduated, commenting that attending her father's business meetings was more educational than college. In an interview, Marina acknowledged, "I'm here because my name is Berlusconi, but as a Berlusconi I could also be doing something else."

Marina is considered her father's closest ally both in business and in the political arena where Silvio reportedly wants her to succeed him as Prime Minister and party leader.

According to several news accounts, in 1998 Marina strongly objected to the potential sale of Mediaset to Rupert Murdoch (who owns Sky Italia in Italy and is now considered Mediaset's major competitor).

Forbes listed Marina as the 48th most powerful woman in the world (on the same level as the U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama), controlling a financial empire worth an estimated $10 billion.
Marina has two children and is married to a former first dancer of La Scala. Her father, on the other hand, after two marriages, is single.

ETTORE AND MATILDE BERNABEI

Ettore Bernabei founded Rome, Italy-based LUX Vide, the largest producer of fiction programs in Italy, in 1991 with the help of three financial investors. At that time Bernabei was 70 years old. He had stepped down as president of RAI, Italy's state broadcaster, 17 years earlier after occupying the position for 13 years.

To veterans of the Italian political and media worlds, the name Bernabei opens doors. In addition to having been a former editor of daily newspapers and a political force in the long-ruling (but now discredited) Christian Democrat party, he is a Vatican insider.

In 1992 he urged his then 38-year-old daughter Matilde to join him as CEO, a surprising move since she thought her father would prefer one of his other seven living children (one daughter was deceased). In a 1997 VideoAge interview, Matilde complained that, when she was growing up, "It was understood that her five brothers would go out and work and she and her sisters would get married and stay at home." While the boys were encouraged to become fluent in several languages, Matilde lamented her lack of early foreign language training.

Matilde Bernabei started as a journalist for the weekly newsmagazine Panorama, and, at the age of 24, she was appointed secretary general of ASIP, in charge of the creation of technical cooperation programs with developing countries. In 1980 she joined Montedison as manager of the group's job creation program. In 1984, she became the Strategy and Development director of the Montedison's newly created Iniziativa Me.Ta., which in three years became the third largest Italian financial holding. Before joining her father at LUX Vide, in 1987 she became managing director of the publishing company Il Messaggero.

Today, at LUX Vide, Matilde is assisted by her youngest brother Luca, who is the head of Production. Ettore is now LUX Vide's honorary chairman, while his daughter Matilde is chairman.

Over the years LUX Vide has produced some 80 programs (about 500 hours) between series, miniseries and TV movies, but it doesn't have its own distribution operation, relying instead on RAI.

With 44.3 percent ownership, LUX Vide is still solidly in the Bernabei family's hands, while 35.7 percent is owned by International Entertainment, a subsidiary of Intesa Bank, with the balance owned by Tarak Ben Ammar.

JAMES ROBERT (JR) AND HEATHER A. SHAW

James Robert (JR) Shaw, 77, executive chairman of Shaw Communications, entered the TV business in 1970 to provide cable TV service to Edmonton. In 1983 the company went public and, in 1995, was renamed Shaw Cablesystems and moved to Calgary. In the same period he legally changed his name to JR.

Today, Shaw Communications is a C$3.7 billion a year group that provides telephone, Internet and television services. Last October Shaw acquired Canwest, a major Canadian broadcasting radio and TV company based in Winnipeg and reorganized it under a division called Shaw Media.

All of JR's four children — Jim, Heather, Julie and Brad — are involved in the group. His oldest son Jim, now 53, took over Shaw as CEO in 1998, however, last November, Jim's younger brother Brad, 46, became CEO, while Jim continues as non-executive vice chairman and a member of the board.

JR Shaw also founded Corus Entertainment. The company was built from the media assets originally owned by Shaw Communications, and spun off as a separate, publicly-traded company in 1999.

Today, Corus owns 50 radio stations, several speciality TV channels and production and distribution companies such as Nelvana, generating annual revenues of C$769 million. JR remains Corus' primary shareholder through Corus' class A voting shares, the majority of which he holds.

Since Corus' inception, Heather Shaw, now 51, has been the company's executive chairman. Previously, she was president of Shaw Advertising Services and, in 1995, president of Shaw's Digital Music

Express Canada Ltd. and an officer and member of the board of Shaw Communications. Since 2008, Heather's younger sister, Julie, now 49, has served as vice chairman. She first joined the Shaw group in 1986.

In 2001, Heather Shaw was listed in The Financial Post's "Power 50" — the 50 most powerful women in Canadian business.

OLA AND BENEDICTE STEINSRUD

When, at the age of 38, Ola Steinsrud co-founded TVNorge, Norway's first private TV station with three other people, in 1987, his daughter Benedicte was four years old. A year later, when the station actually went on the air, the little girl was often asked by her father to appear whenever needed on shows or music videos that he produced. As a teenager Benedicte was asked by her dad to sit in the conference room to watch programs and give feedback.

Subsequently, in 1996 the station was sold to SBS and now is wholly owned by ProSiebenSat1. Ola stayed with TVNorge until 2006 and Benedicte, his oldest child (he has three daughters), joined the network a year later, after attending the American School outside London, graduating with a degree in Journalism, Film and Broadcasting and moving to Los Angeles to work for distribution company GRB. Today, she's in the acquisition department for TVNorge's FEM and MAX.

Ola began as a Communications Engineer graduate in Oslo in 1973. After working for the nation's telecom company, he moved to New York City at the entertainment division at ABC TV network in 1987. He later became a programming and acquisition executive for the network.

Before going to New York, Ola went to Surrey, outside London, to take a production course sponsored by Sony and the BBC.

Ola brought the U.S. business model to TVNorge. Originally TVNorge broadcast via satellite and cable, later they had some local affiliates which were using 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. for local programming, while the rest of the schedule was provided by TVNorge. This arrangement ended in 2009 with the analog switch off.

 

«back