Why Nutella CEO's Tragic Death Hurts So Bad

Kim Conte

nutellaNutella is one of those wonderfully comforting foodstuffs that simply makes us happy, wouldn't you agree? Maybe it reminds us of childhood. Perhaps it conjures up nostalgic memories of a trip to France or Italy. For me, it's the snack my college roommates and I would always partake in together after a long night of ... er ... studying. No wonder it has such a special place in my heart.

The fact that something that makes us this happy could be associated with something tragic seems impossible -- which could be why people the world over are taking the news of the death of Pietro Ferrero, the CEO of the Ferrero Group holding company that produces Nutella and other confections, so very hard.

The details surrounding Ferrero's death are heartbreaking: The 47-year-old businessman was an avid cycler. While on holiday, he was riding a bike on his usual training run on a road in Cape Town, South Africa when he fell off and died. His father, Michele Ferrero, who actually invented successes including Nutella in the 1960s, was with him. (Incidentally, the Ferreros are Italy's richest family.)

People everywhere are mourning his loss, and even Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini expressed sorrow, describing Ferrero as a:

 ... businessman of exceptional talent, gifted with strategic vision and deep sensibility [for Italy's overall interests] ... [Ferrero] knew how to embody the best qualities of our industrial history -- the continued search for excellence, creativity, the determination to compete even in difficult moments to strengthen one's brand to the point that it becomes a symbol.

Food has a way of keeping us connected -- through taste -- to the past. Now, Nutella isn't merely one of life's simple pleasures; it also serves as a reminder of someone -- Ferrero -- who made all of our lives a little sweeter.


Image via PV KS/Flickr

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