Ferrero Rocher Heir Dies In Cycling Accident In South Africa
Pietro Ferrero, the heir to the chocolate-making business empire built up by one of Italy's richest families, has died in a cycling accident in South Africa.
He was joint chief executive of the Ferrero Group that produces Ferrero Rocher, Nutella, Kinder, Tic Tacs and other confectionery products and he stood to inherit the fortune along with his brother, Giovanni.
Ferrero, a cycling enthusiast, was riding a bike during a training run in Cape Town while on a business trip to South Africa when he fell off, according to the firm.
The 47-year-old was accompanied on the trip by his father, Michele Ferrero, who transformed the firm from a local to an international sweets producer and invented successes including Nutella and Kinder in the 1960s.
Ferrero's grandfather, who was also Pietro, started the company in 1942, supplying products for a pastry shop run by his wife, Piera, in Alba, in the region of Piedmont.
Because it was hard to obtain ingredients for sweets during the Second World War, the elder Pietro Ferrero decided to exploit something Piedmont had in abundance – hazelnuts – and invented a confection using a sweet paste made from the nut.
The grandson began working in Ferrero Germany in 1985 after getting a degree in biology, and then moved to company headquarters in Alba, working on technical and production matters.
In 1992, he took on the responsibility of managing operations in the European division of the Ferrero group.
At the time of his death he was chief executive of Ferrero International S.A., the Luxembourg-based holding group of Ferrero Group, and chairman of Ferrero, S.p.A., the Italian branch of the group.
Italy's Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, described Ferrero as a "businessman of exceptional talent, gifted with strategic vision and deep sensibility" for Italy's overall interests.
He said Ferrero "knew how to embody the best qualities of our industrial history the continued search for excellence, creativity, the determination to compete even in difficult moments to strengthen one's brand to the point that it becomes a symbol."