The new brand of biscuits born from the battle between the Gullón

The story begins in 1983 with the death of Jose Manuel Gullon, market leader of one of the (if not the oldest) biscuit brands in Spain. Then his widow, María Teresa Rodríguez, decided to take control of the company and keep 55% of the property, even though she had no prior knowledge of management and direction.

That’s why Rodríguez wanted to hire Juan Miguel Martinez Gabaldon, professional engineer, as CEO. He is at the origin of the entire story of family quarrels and internal struggles that continues to this day, as the widow’s children never appreciated that someone outside the family had so much influence over the company’s decision-making process. Over the years, Gabaldón accumulated shares in Gullón, a factor that aggravated the situation to the point that the heiress was openly confronted with her children.

Thus, in a secret meeting between the brothers in 2009, the sons of María Teresa Rodríguez decided to exonerate Gabaldón and strip their mother of the power she had on the board of Gullón. Rodríguez appealed the decision to the courts and regained power, allowing him to carry out his revenge. He returned the position to Gabaldón and fired the company’s three sons. Although he eventually reinstated them a few years later, they never regained the power they had then. On the contrary, Gabaldón is now the brand’s CEO and the only daughter who has not participated in the crackdown on her mother, Lourdes, has been chosen to succeed Rodríguez.

Félix Gullón became self-employed and set up his own biscuit factory

Although Gullón had a turnover of more than 380 million euros in 2019 and things seemed to have calmed down a bit within the family, one of Rodríguez’s sons, Félix, decided to leave the company and start his own business. family biscuits, which will produce the same products as Gullón. According to family company sources, Félix Gullón’s decision would in turn respond to “the shareholder’s decision to retain Juan Miguel Martínez Gabaldón as CEO of the company and to appoint him as CEO in June 2019”.

However, Félix Gullón doesn’t think he will compete with his family. “We want to create new markets, attract new consumers. Competing with the big three of breakfast is impossible. The truth is that I don’t think a company like mine worries them very much,” he explains in a recent interview.

Despite this, the project has ambitions of becoming a large company. “My wife and I built it with the goal that our children will continue to do it in the future, even if they are little now,” he explains. For this reason, Gullón has moved to Jaén with his family and has recently acquired a Cerealto Siro factory in the city, which he will use as the operational center of Family Biscuits.

As the entrepreneur himself admits, the decision for María Teresa Rodríguez is not yet complete. However, Gullón believes his departure from the family business – although he will retain 3.86% of the shares – is a good thing for the family. “I took a step aside so the family wouldn’t suffer any more. I could tell my mother was a bit concerned when I told her my idea, but I know she’s happy,” she explains.

Entrepreneurs, old companies, Gullon