Michele Ferrero, the billionaire and the king of his chocolate empire dies at 89. The private firm owned by him has been famous for such chocolates as Ferrero Rocher chocolates, the chocolate-hazelnut Nutella spread, Tic Tic sweets, and Kinder eggs. He breathed his last on Saturday after prolonged illness for months at his Monaco residence. Sergio Mattarella, the President of Italy hailed him as the “born entrepreneur”.
Ferrero’s father, Pietro, was a pastry maker who developed Giandujot in 1946 which proved to be the precursor of Nutella. Pietro mixed a small amount of cocoa with large amount of hazelnuts to prepare an affordable eatable called paste at a time when purchasing chocolates was aristocracy. Giovanni, Ferrero’s son, while talking to BBC a year ago, said that his grandfather found the formula for the preparation of a type of paste. His grandfather was so obsessed, Giovanni added, that he once woke up his wife who was deep in sleep in the midnight, and made her taste the preparation asking her how it tasted, and what did she think of it.
It was in 1964, that Michele Ferrero transformed the paste into the now so worldwide famous Nutella, presently being produced in 11 factories and exported to 160 countries. Giovanni Ferrero assumed the post of Chief Executive of the organization after the demise of his elder brother due to a heart attack while cycling in 2011 in South Africa. The Ferrero Group has a strength of over 22000 employees, and the sales per year exceeds €8bn (£5.9bn).
Forbes magazine referred to the deceased Michele Ferrero as “the richest candyman on the planet”, and put him at the 30th place in the list of the wealthiest people worldwide with wealth amounting to $23.4 billion.