Five of the biggest power struggles in business history

(3) Adi Dassler vs. Rudi Dassler

If only all arguments between brothers ended up with two of the biggest companies in a particular sector being built. Having started the Dassler Brothers Sports Company together, rivalry and suspicion (supposedly heightened by involvement with the Nazis) saw them go their separate ways in 1948.

The result was the creation of Adidas and Puma, two of the largest sporting goods companies in todays market. Vowing never to speak to each other again, the two brothers went about building their own ventures in the post-WWII era.

Competition, both business and personal, saw huge budgets spent to out do the other when it came to endorsements and marketing.

The power struggle extended into the 1960s and 1970s when, in an era of cold war suspicion, it is reported that Olympic athletes were handed secret payments to wear one of the rival brands.

Apparently, Brazilian footballer Pele earned part of his 70,000 endorsement during the 1970 World Cup by tying his shoelaces shortly before kick-off ensuring the TV audience got a nice shot of his Puma boots.

A reconciliation of sorts was found in 2009 when a one-off charity football match was played between the two companies although an Adidas spokesperson quickly said that there were no future plans for joint ventures or activities.

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(4) Ferdinand Piech vs. Martin Winterkorn

A fairly recent one, the chief executive (Winterkorn) and chairman (Piech) had a rather public falling out at colossal German car manufacturer Volkswagen.

The result was that Piech was forced into a position of having to resign, aching been with the company for 20 years and sat as CEO between 1993 and 2002.

It all began after Piech criticised Winterkorn in German magazine Der Spiegel. While the issue up for debate was not revealed, the Volkswagen board gave its backing to the CEO, rather than the chairman.

Outlets such as BBC have reported that the bone of contention may have been how to tackle the US market, with Volkswagen currently the second largest maker of cars in the world after Toyota.

Ironically, Piech had dismissed the chances of Winterkorn one day becoming chairman. His resignation now actually frees up the path.

This may not be the end of the story though. Piech is an indirect shareholder in Volkswagen so still has influence in that way. Its probably safe to say that Piech won’t be launching a cyber attack like Sheikh, as he won’t want to damage his stake in the business, but after two decades he probably won’t go quietly.

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(5) Liliane Bettencourt vs. Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers

A return to inter-family wars, this time in the form of two LOreal heirs. Now a business which is 106 years-old, the tiff began when Francoise accused those around her mother (Liliane) of taking advantage of her in her old age.

Now 92, Francoise wanted her mother declared mentally incompetent. It stemmed from the gifts lavished on Lilianes long-term friend Francois-Marie Banier thought to total 1bn.

Believing her mother was not competent and might be being swindled out of part of her 17bn fortune, Francoise acted and began court proceedings.

Played out in front of the full might of the French, and global, media, the then president, Nicolas Sarkozy was brought into the fray after it was suggested Liliane might have funded his latest run at office.

The court case culminated at the beginning of 2015, and it was later announced that eight people had been found guilty of exploiting the heiress.

Mother and daughter have since put their differences between them and LOreal is still worth over $100bn.

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