McLean, VA — Forrest E. Mars, Jr. passed away July 26 at the age of 84. He spent almost his entire career in the family business, Mars, Incorporated, most recently as its president. He is survived by his wife, four children, 11 grandchildren, two great grandchildren and numerous other family members, according to the company.
He worked with his brother John and sister Jacqueline to grow the business they inherited into one of the world’s largest privately owned food companies, increasing sales from $1 billion to $35 billion, and providing 80,000 jobs worldwide in 78 countries. According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he was the world’s 21st wealthiest person. His brother and sister each have equivalent fortunes.
“Forrest was a great inspiration to all of us at Mars, Incorporated,” says Grant F. Reid, CEO and office of the president for Mars. “He was instrumental in building our business, while remaining committed to the founding principles of the company. Forrest will be sorely missed, but his contributions and the legacy he leaves behind at Mars will be long-lasting.”
Mars was a philanthropist, locally and internationally, supporting environmental preservation projects and those that celebrated American history. He also was an explorer who enjoyed traveling on his expedition ship to wild places around the globe, such as the Northern Passage.
Mars became a household name with its Milky Way, Snickers and M&M’s chocolates as well as pet-food brands such as Pedigree and Whiskas.