Life lessons from a Bacardi: remember your roots and be frugal

Nice interview of Facundo L. Bacardi, the great grandson of founder of Bacardi.

Facundo L. Bacardi had little interest in joining the family business, which happens to be the largest privately held spirits company in the world, with a portfolio of more than 200 brands, including Bombay Sapphire, Grey Goose and Dewars.

The great-great grandson of Bacardi company founder Don Facundo Bacardţ Massū had other plans.

“When I was young, I wanted to be a lawyer,” he said. “When I got to my teens, I started thinking, Boy, I’d really love to be a baseball player.”

As Bacardi got older, his family legacy began calling him. Now 50, he has been chairman of the board of Bermuda-based Bacardi Limited since 2005 and a director since 1993. He spoke with Reuters to share some of the life lessons he has learned from his family — and the family business — over the years.

He says the most important lesson is to be frugal and rooted:

What did growing up watching the family business teach you about finances?
In 1960, the entire family left Cuba because all of their assets were appropriated by the Cuban government. The family had to come together and rebuild the company. The lessons I learned were of being very frugal and careful with your finances — that you could lose everything you had at any time, that anything you have could be taken away. We were so frugal, in fact, that we were pretty much a single-brand company from 1862 until 1992 (when Bacardi acquired General Beverage, which owns the Martini & Rossi group).
Well, this is such a common lesson across countries and across businesses.

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