Candy billionaire Forrest E. Mars dies

Forrest E. Mars began his company career as financial staff officer for M&M’s Candies in 1959 ©iStock/urbanbuzz

Mars has announced its former president has Forrest E. Mars died on Tuesday (July 26) aged 84.

Forrest E. Mars was the world’s 27th richest man with a net worth of $23.4bn, according to Forbes’ rich list.

Accelerated sales

Mars said Forrest and his sister Jacqueline had helped grow the company’s sales from $1bn to $35bn since inheriting the business.

Grant F. Reid, CEO and Office of the President for Mars, said Forrerst was a “great inspiration” to all working at the company.

“Forrest will be sorely missed, but his contributions and the legacy he leaves behind at Mars will be long-lasting,” he said.

Work history and philanthropy

Forrest E. Mars joined Mars as financial staff officer for M&M’s Candies in 1959, following four years as an accountant at Price Waterhouse and two years in the US Army.

He was appointed general manager of a new-build confectionery factory in Veghel, Netherlands in 1961 and worked there for five years before becoming managing director of Mars France.

In 1970, he was appointed group vice president and assumed responsibility for the group’s confectionery operations.

He later took responsibility for all the company’s businesses together with his brother John. The pair became co-presidents in 1975. At this time, the company’s net sales amounted to just over $1bn.

Forrest E. Mars retired as a Mars associate in 1999, but continued to offer guidance and was a Board member until 2006. Today the company net sales are around $35bn.

The company has also praised its former president for his philanthropic initiatives, such as supporting environmental preservation projects like the American Prairie Reserve, and preserving American history via projects with museums.

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