Bonn — Hans Riegel, PhD, Haribo GmbH & Co. KG CEO and son of its founder, died Tuesday at age 90 from heart failure. He was recovering from surgical removal of a benign brain tumor, according to Haribo.
In the 1980s, Riegel’s ingenuity brought the dancing bear gummi candy invented by his father — the Haribo Gold-Bears — to international popularity, and he is credited with the development of more than 200 types of candy. He was inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame in 1999. The Austrian Republic presented Riegel with the Golden Order of Merit in recognition of his contributions.
At his Candy Hall of Fame induction, Riegel said: “Probably my most important experiences came from dealing with my most important customers, children. If I could pass on one piece of advice to those who deal in candy, it would be to make kids happy.”
Born in 1923 near Bonn, Hans Riegel graduated from Aloysius-Kollegs High School and earned a doctorate in business from Bonn University with his thesis on the development of the international sugar industry.
During World War II, the candy company founded by his father Hans in 1923, Haribo, struggled as a result of the shortage of raw materials and the death of the elder Reigel in 1945.
After their service in World War II, Riegel and his brother Paul assumed control of Haribo from their mother, who had kept it operating during the war, and rebuilt it from 30 employees to more than 1,000 in five years. The company expanded rapidly throughout Europe under their leadership. Paul, who died in 2009, oversaw production while Hans focused on marketing and distribution, plying his understanding of children’s culture and interests in trendsetting products and inventive marketing strategies.
Privately owned, Haribo produces more than 70 million gummi bears daily, employs more than 6,000 people worldwide and claimed revenues of more than $835 million in 2011. Earlier this year Riegel’s net worth was estimated at $2.9 billion by Forbes.