Source of Wealth:Business
Birth Place:Ogliani, Italy
Marital Status:Married (Maria Franca)
Full Name:Michele Ferrero
Date of Birth:April 26, 1925
Children:2 Pietro Ferrero Jr., Giovanni Ferrero
About Michele Ferrero
World’s Richest Italian
From the land that introduced the world various ‘gems’ such as Pizza, Ferrari and Sophia Loren it is almost expected that its richest individual made his fortune from something sumptuous such as chocolate specifically Nutella to the tune of $22.1 billion according to Bloomberg.
Michele Ferrero was the son of Pietro Ferrero, a pastry chef who in the 1940’s created the first version of what is now Nutella. During World War II, there was very little chocolate because cocoa was in short supply. Pietro Ferrero used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of Italy (northwest), to extend the chocolate supply. The first product was similar to a loaf of bread (completed chocolate based) and later took the form of a cream. This later launched his company Ferrero Spa.
However, while Pietro Ferrero was the mastermind behind modern day Nutella it was the business acumen of his son Michele that propelled the company into a global multinational.
In 1963, Michele revamped what was then his father’s product a hazelnut chocolate based ‘super cream’ into the Nutella brand all across Europe. A year later in 1964, it proved an instant success and a few years later the milk based Kinder Chocolate line was also launched by Michele Ferrero also known as the ‘Kinder Surprise’. Michele’s vision was to create an ‘easter egg’ with a toy surprise that children can enjoy all year round.
As the company grew, various lines were created under Michele Ferrero’s leadership such as Ferrero Rocher, Mon Cheri, Pocket Coffee and the famous pocket mints Tic Tac.
While Michele lives in the Monte Carlo, home to the many of the World’s Richest individuals he actually prefers his bicycle to his one Ferrari as a mode of transportation cycling many kilometers per day. He also shuttles by helicopter from his home in Monte Carlo to the main chocolate factory in the North West Italian City of Alba every week to taste new recipes.
Today, at 87 years old Michele Ferrero is listed as the 23rd Richest Individual in the World with an estimated net worth of 20.4 Billion. The patriarch of Italian chocolate dynasty has passed the reigns of the company over to his son Giovanni who leads the company which operates more than 70 affiliated companies, has 15 production plants and employs nearly 22,000 people worldwide. For every 100 hazelnuts grown on Earth, 15 end up in a Ferrero product. Despite its size, the company and its owner is known for being very secretive and private to the point he is rarely seen in public without sunglasses.
Sitting behind Ferrero are other famous creators such as Leonardo Del Vecchio of Luxottica which owns Ray Ban, Oakley, SunGlass Hut and Lens Crafters as well as fashion moguls Giorgio Armani and Miuccia Prada. Michele Ferrero died on February 14, 2015 at athe age of 89.