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Michele Ferrero… King of Chocolate

Name: Michele Ferrero

Birth: 26 April 1925

Death: 14 February 2015

Company: Rocher Chocolate

Products: Nutella, Ferrero Rocher, Raffaello, and others

Children: Pietro, Giovanni Ferrero

Chocolate is liked by adults and young people all over the world; This was exploited by “Michele Ferrero”; the owner of the famous chocolate company, through managing the work launched by his father, relying on innovation and creativity in Italian taste; he later succeeded in taking the world by storm with his chocolate products till he became worth $21 billion. What was his experience in entrepreneurship?

The Start

Michele Ferrero was born on April 26, 1925, in the Italian city of Dougliani, to a family that worked in a private pastry shop. His parents later converted into a confectionery factory.

Pietro, Michele’s father, established a confectionery kitchen; he was helped by his wife to sell the products to ward off the poverty that spread on the European continent at that time. This initiative is what propelled their son to venture in the same field.

Michele Ferrero started working in his father’s shop at a young age. He succeeded in transforming it into a global chocolate empire with great taste that attracted millions of consumers from all over the world.

Innovation taste

The Second World War had a negative impact on the chocolate factory. When Pietro and his wife failed to get enough chocolate as a result of the food shortage, Michele did not remain idle but thought outside the box and decided to add hazelnuts to chocolate and traditional desserts.

Expansion in 10 countries

Michele took hold of the management of the company after his father’s death in 1949; so he began to expand the production line, then started exporting the products to Germany. He opened a large group factory in Germany in 1956, then opened a factory in France in 1958, and then established production centers in 10 countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Mexico, and China.

Making “Nutella”

As a result of the lack of financial resources in 1964, Michele decided to add quantities of vegetable oils to the hazelnut chocolate mix, based on the principle of “Necessity is the mother of invention”, which resulted in the making of “Nutella” greatly adored by the young ones.

Michele Ferrero developed the Nutella product into a world-renowned brand. It is worth to mention that the first Nutella packaging was produced in Alba, northwest Italy. In 1964, he generated very large sales, creating an exceptional boom, resulting in the establishment of 11 factories in several countries, producing tens of tons of Nutella.

Introduction of Kinder Chocolate

The chocolate magician continued to wow the world by producing new varieties and tastes in different flavors to seek excellence. In 1968, Michele introduced “Kinder Chocolate”, the year after the introduction of “Tic Tac”, and in 1983, he penetrated into American markets via “Nutella”.

Michele’s passion for working on chocolate products spread widely. The wheel of creativity continued, starting with: “The Pyramid of Ferrero-Golden Rocher”, “Tic Tac”, “Kinder Joy” for children, down to Kinder Surprise, Rafaello, and many more.

Maintaining Rocher Company

Michele maintained the family name and kept “Rocher” without offering quotas for sale; he was seeking perfection in his work. He would travel by helicopter from his home in Monte Carlo to Alba to taste chocolate, and help in selecting and innovating new products.

The company achieved significant sales of $ 9 billion and it employed more than 22 thousand workers. He considered them to be the giant force that helps his factories and supports his constant pursuit of the best results. This consideration urged them to continue production. Michele refused to lay off a number of them following the 1994 Alba floods; he even worked to reconstruct the buildings.

Great legacy

Michele married Maria Franca and gave birth to Pietro, Giovanni, who managed the company. Later, Pietro died, in 2011, after suffering a heart attack while cycling in South Africa.

Michele was one of Italy’s tycoons who joined the list of the world’s wealthy people, and following his departure on 14 February 2015, his son Giovanni entered Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest men in 39th place, with a fortune of $21 billion.

Giovanni was able to continue his father’s career, with his innovations that delighted millions around the world; he further became a popular novelist, producing about 8 books.

Lessons learned

  • Necessity is the mother of invention: From this principle, Michele was able to create a new kind of chocolate, took global markets by storm, and preserved his father and grandfather’s legacy.
  • Thinking outside the box: despite the negative impact of World War II on the chocolate factory, Michele thought outside the box; he added hazelnuts to the chocolate.
  • Relentless pursuit: Entrepreneurs do not stand at a particular point in their lives, but rather look for ways to advance.
  • Passion: Entrepreneurs always develop their passion to deliver the best and enhance the success of their work.

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