Pietro Ferrero, the heir to the world-renowned chocolate empire, died yesterday in a cycling accident. Aged 47, he was joint-CEO of the Ferrero group, along with his brother, while his 85-year-old father is chairman.
The Ferrero confectionary business is one of Italy’s most distinctive – and richest – brands. The company started in the 1940s when Pietro’s grandfather began experimenting with hazelnuts to cope with the chocolate shortages during the war.
Since then the Ferrero business (which also owns Nutella and Kinder) has grown its turnover to more than €6bn – last year turnover was €6.6bn. The company has stayed away from public listings and corporate takeovers, although it did express an interest in bidding for Cadbury last year – a deal which turned stale after Michele Ferrero reportedly wanted to keep the family business independent.