I am very proud to have been part of the Bibby Line Group, as the wife of Sir Derek for over 40 years and now the head of the family shareholding. When I married into the Bibby family I soon realised that I was part of a much larger family than just kith and kin. In those days Bibby Line had about nine ships, most of them passenger liners to Ceylon and Burma; I got to know all the office staff and many of the ships’ captains.
But since then the world has changed enormously. Famous shipping names disappeared from Liverpool – Cunard, Blue Funnel and many others; Liverpool itself has seen decades of turmoil and change – but Bibby’s hung on, stayed in Liverpool, and grew into an international concern.
Over the years I have seen first my father in law, and then my husband at the helm of the shipping line; and now my son – the sixth generation of Bibbys in the role – is steering the much bigger and broader business. Our worldwide family has reached its bicentenary, and in this book it’s good that we have not just a further edition of the history, but meet people throughout the company, showing the diversity and international interests of this fascinating business from a very personal viewpoint.
This has always been a people business, and we have always placed great value and trust in the staff to do their best; this has built up a culture and reputation for trust, honesty and integrity which is so important for our customers and partners. The difference between a true family business, run by succeeding generations of Bibbys, is very striking compared to the impersonal corporate culture of a plc. It is rare these days to keep such a business not only in family ownership, but actively managed by family members, and it is a distinction that we prize highly.
My family is very proud to have seen the company through to its 200th anniversary, and we are proud to be taking it into the future in such a strong position. I would love to think that the extended Bibby family will still be here and in good heart another 200 years on.
-- Christine Bibby