Michele Ferrero, World's Richest Candyman And Creator Of Nutella, Dies At 89

Posted On: 2/15/2015

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TAGS: Michele Ferrero, vending, Nutella, Italy's richest man, vending news, Ferrero group, Giovanni Ferrero, candy news, Ferrero Rocher, Pocket Coffee, Mon Chéri, Giotto, Ferrero Foundation

Michele Ferrero, vending, Nutella MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Italy's richest man and the owner of a closely held chocolate and confectionery multinational died on Feb. 14. Michele Ferrero was 89, according to his company, Ferrero SpA.

His death has prompted speculation over succession and tie-ups at the family-controlled Ferrero group, which has sales of around 8 billion euros ($9 billion) and continued to grow through Italy's longest recession since World War II, according to Reuters.

Forbes magazine described Ferrero as "the richest candyman on the planet," putting him and his family in 30th place on its list of the world's wealthiest people, with a net worth of $23.4 billion.

Ferrero SpA is the biggest chocolate producer in the world. It was founded by Michele's father, Pietro Ferrero, in 1946 in Alba, Piedmont, Italy. The company saw a period of tremendous growth under Michele, who in turn handed over the daily operations to his sons. His son Pietro (the founder's grandson), who oversaw global business, died on April 18, 2011, in a cycling accident in South Africa at the age of 47. Ferrero's son Giovanni became chief executive after Pietro's death.

Reputation Institute's 2009 survey ranks Ferrero as the most reputable company in the world. It is also regarded as one of the world's most secretive firms; it has never held a press conference or allowed media to tour its plants.

In 1946, Pietro Ferrero invented a cream of hazelnuts and cocoa, derived from Gianduja and called it "Giandujot" or Pasta Gianduja. The initial product came in solid loaves wrapped in aluminum foil, which had to be sliced with a knife, and was succeeded by a spreadable version Supercrema.

With assistance from his brother Giovanni, Pietro created his new company to produce and market the initial product. Following his work, Pietro was succeeded by his son Michele Ferrero as chief executive. Michele and his wife Maria Franca re-launched his father's recipe as Nutella, which was first sold in 1964 and has since become the world's leading chocolate-nut spread brand.

In addition to Nutella, Ferrero produces Ferrero Rocher, Pocket Coffee, Mon Chéri, Giotto, Confetteria Raffaello coconut cream candy, Hanuta chocolate hazelnut-filled wafers and the Kinder line, among many other products, including Tic Tac breath mints.

In 1983, the Ferrero Foundation was established in Alba, Piedmont, at the wish of Michele Ferrero. The foundation promotes activities in the areas of art, science, history and literature by organizing conferences, seminars and exhibitions. It also offers health and social assistance to ex-employees of the group for at least 25 years.