Ferrero published a job advertisement seeking 60 tasters to test semi-finished and raw materials including various types of cocoa and hazelnut grains that will be used to produce various products of the brand. In this image, a jar of Nutella chocolate-hazelnut paste is seen in this picture illustration taken Oct. 22, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini


  • The global chocolate market's size was estimated to be $113.16 billion in 2021
  • The Ferrero Group is the second-largest chocolatier in the world
  • The richest man in Italy, Giovanni Ferrero, has a net worth of $35.7 billion

The global chocolate market's size was estimated at USD 113.16 billion in 2021, according to the Global Chocolate Market Size & Share Analysis Report, 2030. The report also anticipates growth at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% from 2022 to 2030. A significant player in this market is the Ferrero Group, which owns the famous Nutella brand and other household-favorite chocolate products.

At the helm of the Ferrero Group is its secretive executive chairman Giovanni Ferrero, set on keeping the firm alive following the solid family values his father and grandfather imparted to him.

Here are 15 facts about Giovanni Ferrero.

1. Giovanni Ferrero, born in Italy in April 1964, is the youngest son of Nutella inventor Michele Ferrero.

2. He attended the Belgian boarding school European School and proceeded to study marketing at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania.

3. Giovanni joined his father and brother Pietro, named after their grandfather, in the family business after he graduated from college. As a leader, he believes in paying attention to employees' needs.

"I strongly believe that attention to employees' needs, to their families, to their life even when they quit working, cements a social cohesion that is mutually beneficial," he once said.

4. His first job at the Ferrero Group was in the Tic Tac brand, dubbed as the rebel of the company. Tic Tac was launched one year after Kinder Chocolate.

5. The Ferrero Group traces its roots back to Giovanni's grandfather, Pietro Ferrero, who opened a chocolate shop in Alba, Italy, during World War II. Its main product, the hazelnut spread called Supercrema, would spell the future for one of its world-renowned products today, Nutella.

6. Giovanni and his brother Pietro were co-CEO from 1997 to 2011, when Pietro died of a heart attack resulting from a bike accident in Cape Town, South Africa. Giovanni is the more introverted Ferrero brother.

7. In 2015, Michele Ferrero died, making Giovanni the most senior member of the family. He held down the fort as the executive chairman and CEO.

Two years later, he stepped down as CEO. He stayed on as the executive chairman and hired the first CEO of the company who was not a family member, Lapo Civiletti, in 2017.

8. Giovanni's business strategy contrasted with his father's plan to build in-house brands. The company acquired British chocolatier Thorntons for $170 million in 2015, Nestle's entire U.S. confections business for $2.8 billion in 2018, and Kellogg's lineup of cookie businesses in 2019.

The Italian confectionary giant Ferrero on Tuesday acquired Nestlé’s U.S. candy business for $2.8 billion, Nestlé announced in press release. Pixabay

9. Today, the Ferrero Group is the second-largest chocolatier in the world, selling almost $12 billion worth of sweets in 2018. Its range of products includes Ferrero Rocher, Nutella, Tic Tac mints, Kinder chocolates, Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Crunch, Keebler, Famous Amos and Little Brownie Bakers.

A Ferrero Rocher chocolate is seen in Milan
A Ferrero Rocher chocolate is seen in Milan November 20, 2009. REUTERS

10. In 2022, the Ferrero Group announced its plans to acquire Wells Enterprises. This will add Blue Bunny, Blue Ribbon Classics, Bomb Pop and Halo Top to its products.

11. His net worth is $35.7B. Though he is the richest man in Italy, not much is known about him and his family.

12. Giovanni Ferrero is married to Paola Rossi, a European Commission official. They have two sons.

13. He also works as a part-time novelist with eight published books to his name. Many of his written works are set in Africa.

14. His most popular book, "Il cacciatore di luce" ("The Light Hunter"), published in 2016, is about an African painter diagnosed with leukemia.

15. The Ferrero Group is just as secretive as its owner. Nutella's recipe is its best-guarded secret.

In 2011, John Hooper, writing for The Guardian, dubbed the company "one of the world's most secretive firms." It banned tours of its factories to protect against "industrial espionage," holding on tightly to its recipe of the widely popular Nutella hazelnut spread.

Journalists were allowed a tour of its plant for the first time in its 65 years in operation, and American media outlets interviewed its chairman for his first-ever interview in 2018.

Giovanni and his family live in Brussels, Belgium, but he runs the company from Luxembourg, allegedly commuting via helicopter to get to work. His father, Michele, lived in Monte Carlo when he was the head of the company, commuting in a similar fashion.