Hans Riegel, Haribo CEO and son of founder Johannes (Hans) Riegel Snr died of heart failure, a spokesman for the firm confirmed on Tuesday afternoon. It brings to an end his 67 years heading up the German confectionery giant.
Since taking the reins of the Bonn-based sweet company from his father in 1946 aged just 23, Hans worked together with his younger brother Paul to build Haribo into the internationally recognized name it is today, with the sweets now sold in 100 countries world-wide.
Aside from sick leave taken to undergo an operation last July to remove a benign brain tumour, the 90-year-old is said to have very rarely missed a day in the office, from where he ran the logistics and marketing sides of the business.
After his brother Paul died in 2009, nephews Hans-Guido Riegel and Hans-Arndt Riegel joined the childless Hans in running the company and will now take over the management of one of the world's top sweet makers.
Haribo, best known for its fruity gummy bear sweets, is an acronym for Hans Riegel Bonn, Ha – Ri – Bo. The company currently makes sweets in factories in 15 countries across Europe and employs 6,000 people with a turnover of €2 billion a year.
Despite his brand being recognized across the world, the late “Mr Haribo” rarely gave interviews or appeared in public. “I was never a person who sought the limelight”,” he said just weeks before his death.