Onomastics of Indian and Chinese company directors in the European Union (EU plus Switzerland)

Indian, Chinese, Russian and Japanese directors in European Big Business – an onomastics view [1/2]

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In December 2012, we attempted to show graphically the cultural origins of about half a million directors of companies registered in the European Union (plus Switzerland). We found that twenty years after the official creation of the European Union, the European economy is still highly fragmented according national considerations (Greek companies have Greek directors, etc).

Amongst the colourful European company directors onomastics mille-feuille, four tiny layers represent the Indian, Chinese, Russian and Japanese names. There can be different reasons why a company director of such foreign origin should be on the board of a European company:

– the company may be the subsidiary of an Indian, Chinese, Russian or Japanese company,

– the company may have made significant investments abroad (joint-ventures, etc.) with Indian, Chinese, Russian or Japanese partners,

– the manager (or his ascendants) may have emigrated from his original country, before he made his way to the top locally,

– the director may have been recruited globally for his particular management skills.


In the map top left, we look at the relative share of Indian directors comparatively to Indian, Chinese, Russian and Japanese directors in each country. Not surprisingly, the Indian business community is strong in Great-Britain but other strongholds include Denmark and Luxembourg.

In the map top right, we see that Chinese businessmen are relatively very present in Switzerland and Germany.

If Indian and Chinese businessmen seem to desert Netherland, this is due to the strong Japanese business community. In the same way, both Indian and Chinese are relatively absent from Cyprus, a location favoured by Russian businessmen to create financial holdings and redirect investments towards Russia.

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