Ferrero is the fourth largest confectionery company in the world but what will happen to the family firm now that its legendary patriarch Michele has passed away?
He took over the company which started in his father’s pastry shop and with the secret recipe for the chocolate-hazelnut Nutella spread built it into a global force.
The reins passed to Michele’s son Giovanni but “the richest candyman on the planet” as Forbes magazine described Michele was involved until his death.
“He had a kind of entrepreneurs work ethic. He became chief executive in 1957 and held that role for 40 years and even after he passed control to his two sons he continued to commute to work regularly by helicopter,” explained Quentin Webb of Reuters.
Giovanni now heads a group with a net turnover of 8.4 billion euros. Growth in Asia, Russia and the US has helped boost sales across 160 countries with a workforce of almost 27 and a half thousand.
Michele put a high price on the loyalty of his employees refusing to move the business away from Alba when fire ravaged the headquarters twenty years ago.
Five years ago one of his sons toyed with the idea of making a bid for British chocolate maker Cadbury but the plan was later abandoned.