Death of Chocolate Magnate explained

taken from Benton

The family of Ferrero Rocher chief executive Pietro Ferrero, who died in Cape Town from a suspected heart attack on Monday while cycling, are hoping to have his body repatriated as soon as possible.

Ferrero Rocher is a globally known chocolate and sweets manufacturer and a multi-billion rand company.

Marco Giungi, the deputy head of mission at the Italian embassy in Pretoria, told The New Age yesterday that it’s “reasonable to think that he died due to natural causes”.

The embassy was in touch with the family in Italy and they had expressed the wish for his body – which is being held in the state mortuary – to be returned to Italy “as soon as possible”.

“We are trying to help the family by taking care of all procedures to take care of the body,” said Giungi, adding that the embassy was hoping “everything might be solved very quickly”.

Mr Giungi said the embassy was still unclear whether a post mortem would need to be carried out in South Africa, saying that the embassy would be guided by South African legislation on the issue.

Ferrero, who ran the Ferrero Group holding company, known for its quality chocolates as well as the Nutella, Kinder and Tic Tac brands, died after falling off his bicycle while cycling between Llandudno and Camps Bay.

Michele Ferrero, Pietro’s 86-year-old father, was so distraught he immediately flew back to Italy in his private plane yesterday, the Italian ambassador, Elio Menzione, said.

The family own a villa in Hout Bay, near where the incident occurred, and were regular visitors to Cape Town, a city that Pietro Ferrero “loved”, Menzione said.

Pietro and his father visited the city regularly, the ambassador said, adding that he met Pietro’s father on a previous trip to South Africa as recently as last month.

Ferrero, who was born in 1963 and was an enthusiastic cyclist, leaves behind three young children, the oldest of whom was born in 2006, said Mr Giungi.

Police Captain Frederick van Wyk said the incident occurred at 14.57pm, and that a passerby tried to assist him with CPR.

Police and an ambulance were called to the scene. Van Wyk added that police suspected the cause of death to be a heart attack.

Giungi said Ferrero, according to Forbes magazine, is said to be the richest man in Italy, adding that the Italian business community was shocked by the death, which was making headlines across Italian media yesterday.

Upon hearing of the news, Ferrero’s brother, Giovanni, flew from Brussels to northern Italy to be with Ferrero’s grieving family, Giungi said.

The Associated Press (AP) news agency cited a statement from the company, based in Alba, as saying that Ferrero was “on a usual training run” on his bicycle when he fell off, with the company adding it was unclear what prompted the fall.

Pietro Ferrero was named after his grandfather, who started the company in 1942, and went on to employ more than 20000 people worldwide, AP reported, adding the Ferrero family was the only shareholder of the company, which has revenue of more than ¤6.6bn (R64.5bn).

The Ferrero Group had a number of local plants in developing countries, including South Africa, India and Cameroon, that were part of what it called “social enterprises” that contributed to local employment and development.

The company had invested in a chocolate packaging plant in Midvaal municipality in Gauteng about three years ago and employed about 250 full-time staff, said the mayor, Tim Nast.

Nast said he met Ferrero two weeks ago when the chief executive visited the plant, adding that he was struck by the company’s commitment to the livelihoods and skills development of its staff. Nast said the municipality was “really saddened” by Ferrero’s death.

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