U.S. Breakthrough

One Sweet Legacy

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Ferrero is going for a bigger chunk of the U.S. market, and Chief Executive Giovanni Ferrero believes new acquisitions and strategics are the way to go. However critics say he should develop new products like his father.

  • Facts


    • Ferrero SpA was started in 1946 as a confectioner and pastry shop by Giovanni Ferrero’s grandfather Pietro.
    • Giovanni’s mother, Maria Franca Fissolo, is the richest Italian with an estimated fortune of $22.1 billion, according to Forbes.
    • The business made €899 million in net profits in 2015.
    • In 2015, Ferrero acquired Oltan, the Turkish market leader for hazelnut production and British chocolate producer Thorntons. Rumor has it a deal for Belgian cookie maker Delacre is also imminent.
  • Audio


  • Pdf
Italian CEO of Ferrero International Gio
CEO of Ferrero International Giovanni Ferrero is taking the family confectionery business on a new course. Source: Getty Images

Giovanni Ferrero looks more like a poet than a business magnate. The 52-year-old head of the Italian chocolate empire has had three novels published and might have been working on a fourth if he wasn’t busy running the family business.

His elder brother Pietro died in an accident in South Africa in 2011 and since his father, family patriarch Michele Ferrero, passed away in 2015, Mr. Ferrero has been the sole chief executive of one of the world’s largest chocolate producers.

Despite still being a family-owned company, Ferrero is a global enterprise with sales of €10 billion ($10.9 billion) in 2016, 35,000 employees and products sold in 160 countries. Giovanni’s mother, Maria Franca Fissolo, is the head of the family holding company, which includes 78 companies worldwide and 22 production sites. According to Forbes, the widow is Italy’s richest person with an estimated fortune of $22.1 billion.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.