BUSINESS -- October 15, 2013 at 3:17 PM ET
'Gummi Bear billionaire' dies at 90
Creative commons photo via flickr user Lennart Tange
Johannes Peter "Hans" Riegel, boss of German candy maker Haribo and the oldest son of Hans Riegel, Sr., died Tuesday as a result of a heart failure. He was 90 years old. Reports say Riegel had been recovering after going through a successful operation to remove a brain tumor.
Riegel inherited Haribo in 1946 from his father and founder of the confectionary company. With his younger brother, Paul, they worked together to rebuild the family firm after World War II. Hans was in charge of marketing and distribution, coming up with the slogan "kids and adults love it so." Under Riegel's entrepreneurship, the sugar company succeeded in making gummi bears famous worldwide, exporting to more than 100 countries. Haribo employs approximately 6,000 people in 15 sites around the world.
Riegel was dubbed "Gummi Bear Billionaire" by Forbes in March 2013, but he has also invented more than 200 sweets, including vademecum sugar-free gum, Maoam fruit chewies, and other well-known chewy sweets. According to Forbes, he gets his inspiration from comic books and children's movies. As of March 2013, his net worth was estimated at $2.9 billion.
Riegel was still running the company and was in charge of marketing at the time of his death.
On Tuesday, Haribo posted on its official Facebook page, Haribo Deutschland, bearing the heavy news to the fans:
"We all mourn a unique entrepreneur and as an outstanding personality will remain many people as a friend and supporter, as a mentor, and last but not least as inspiring role model in memory. With his pioneering spirit, he has created a worldwide unparalleled company and a brand which fame and popularity is second to none."