DUESSELDORF, Germany Oct 15 Hans Riegel, the
man behind Germany's Haribo confectionery and much-loved gummy
bears, has died aged 90 from heart failure, his office said on
Riegel spent almost 70 years at the helm of Haribo, which
was founded by his candymaker father in 1920. From a small firm
struggling with the shortages of post-war Germany, he built it
into a world famous brand exporting to 100 countries.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Riegel had
made Haribo such a global brand that "wherever I travelled in
recent years, the gummy bears had arrived long before me".
Haribo, short for Hans Riegel Bonn, came to epitomise
Germany's highly successful Mittelstand - the small,
actively-managed firms which make up the backbone of the
Fruit-flavoured gummy bears were originally called dancing
bears, inspired by the performing brown bears that once appeared
at circuses and fetes. The fierce expression on their jelly
faces was replaced with a smile in a 2007 makeover.
The Bonn-based candymaker employed 6,000 people in 15 sites
worldwide. According to Forbes, Riegel had a net worth of $2.9
billion, putting him at no 32 on Germany's richest list.
"I work because it makes me happy, and I have no reason to
deny myself that happiness," Riegel said in a interview in 2010.
Riegel underwent a successful operation earlier this year to
remove a brain tumour and his death came unexpectedly.
Haribo gave Germany its most famous advertising slogan,
promising to make kids and adults happy. Sachets of its sweets
are ubiquitous: doctors keep them on hand to placate crying
children and hotels place them on pillows to treat guests.
"Thank you Hans Riegel, for making our lives sweeter!" fan
Kilian Muth posted on the Haribo Germany facebook page.
(Additional reporting by Matthias Inverardi and Kirsti Knolle;
Writing by Alexandra Hudson in Berlin; Editing by Stephen Brown)