Focus on World Family Business Leaders | Giovanni Ferrero

This week the Family Business Office, for its tenth edition of ‘Focus On World Business Leaders’ brings you Giovanni Ferrero, second generation CEO of the well know brand Ferrero.

Giovanni Ferrero was born in Farigliano, Italy, on 2nd April 1964. He did not have to start the chocolate and confectionery business, which was already so famous at that time. He was born into a family that was already running an expert-level business in the field. Giovanni was born to Maria Franca Fissolo and Michele Ferrero, who owned a multinational company named after the Ferrero family.

His parents were aware that he and his brother would be capable of handling the business when they came of age, but they wanted to train them anyway. So, Giovanni was sent to Brussels at a young age to pursue quality education from a Belgian boarding school. However, his parents decided that Giovanni would be sent to the US to specialize in marketing for higher education. He graduated from the Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania.

The business was finally handed over to Giovanni and his brother Pietro by their father, Papa Ferrero, in 1997. The brothers devised a brilliant method to expand the business and came up with newer divisions under the Ferrero label. They also practiced aggressive marketing strategies to expand the business overseas.

Ever since the beginning of their prospering business, Giovanni Ferrero and his brother Pietro had collectively reaped the profits. Despite Pietro being the elder one, both he and Giovanni shared the title of the CEO of the company. While the older brother was in charge of the technical aspect of the business, like tracking the logistics and the sales of products, Giovanni, on the other hand, was the creative mind behind it all.

However, misfortune struck in 2011 when Pietro met with a bicycle accident and lost his life abruptly, as stated by Success Story. The official reports claimed it to be a heart attack that he suffered while cycling in South Africa. As a result, Giovani was required to step up and assume his role as the sole head of the company. Meanwhile, his father, Michel Ferrero, took over the chair of the executive chairman.

Giovanni lost his father four years after his brother’s demise. Due to this, he had to take up the charge of the executive chairman as well. He was relieved of some of the business stress in 2017 when he appointed Lapo Civiletti to become the CEO of Ferrero. From the raging profits ever since Giovanni became a lone wolf, it can be said that they were the effect of his revolutionary methods such as appointing a competent person outside of the family and acquiring important businesses like Thorntons in 2015 for $170 million, Butterfinger and BabyRuth maker Nestlé’s US candy business in 2018 for $2.8 billion, and, more recently, the acquisition of the Kellogg’s cookie businesses in 2019.

( Reference material obtained from The Richest.com/therichandpowerful )

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