Nutella billionaire Michele Ferrero, whose global chocolate empire made him Italy’s richest man, has died aged 89.
Michele Ferrero s privately-owned company is famous for its chocolate-hazelnut Nutella spread, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Kinder eggs and Tic Tac sweets.
The billionaire died on February 14 at his Monaco home after months of illness, according to his company.
Michele Ferrero’s father, a pastry maker named Pietro, developed the forerunner to Nutella in 1946, called Giandujot, combining a small amount of cocoa and lots of hazelnuts to make an affordable luxury at a time chocolate was expensive.
Michele Ferrero turned the paste into the Nutella now known the world over, produced in 11 factories and sold in 160 countries. The first pot was made in 1964.
His son, Giovanni, became chief executive of the company after his older brother Pietro died of a suspected heart attack while cycling in South Africa in 2011.
The Ferrero group employs more than 22,000 workers and has sales per year of more than €8 billion ($10.5 billion).
Forbes magazine described Michele Ferrero as “the richest candyman on the planet”, putting him and his family in 30th place on their list of the world’s wealthiest people, with wealth of $23.4 billion.
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