The 95-year-old CEO of Tootsie Roll Industries, Melvin Gordon, has died.
Gordon was CEO for 53 years, according to the AP, and was infamously secretive about the company. The company will appoint Gordon’s wife, Ellen, CEO of the company and chairman of the board in line with the plan of succession. She currently serves as chief operating officer and president.
Here’s some colour from a 2012 WSJ article about the company:
Tootsie Roll’s Chicago headquarters is a modern-day Willy Wonka factory. Massive puffs of steam billow out of humming machines on the roofs of the grey cinder block and red brick buildings, which sit surrounded by off-kilter “no trespassing” signs. The Gordons haven’t granted an interview in years. The company declined repeated interview requests, saying “we have opted to use our quarterly earnings releases as a way to provide continuing updates to all business media at once.”
In addition to its flagship Tootsie Roll candy, the company’s other brands include, Blow Pop, Dots, Junior Mints, and Charleston Chew.
After the news broke today, the company’s stock was up as much as 7% on Wednesday.
Here’s the full release from the company:
CHICAGO, January 21, 2015 — Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. announced that Melvin J. Gordon, its Chief Executive Officer and the Chairman of its Board of Directors, died after a brief illness at the age of 95 on January 20, 2015. The Board of Directors appointed Ellen R. Gordon, a director of the Company and its President and Chief Operating Officer, as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. The appointment was made in accordance with Tootsie Roll’s existing succession plan.
Mrs. Gordon issued the following statement:
“It is with great sadness that we announce today the passing of Melvin — we will all miss him greatly. Melvin’s life represented the very highest values in business, wisdom, generosity, and integrity. Tootsie Roll has seen great growth and success during his time as Chairman. Melvin’s dedication to Tootsie Roll for over fifty years as Board Chair, his creativity and determination were an inspiration to us all.”
Melvin J. Gordon is survived by Ellen R. Gordon, his wife of 65 years, their four daughters and their spouses, six grandchildren, a large extended family, and many friends and colleagues.
About Tootsie Roll
Tootsie Roll has been engaged in the manufacture and sale of confectionery products for over 100 years and has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: TR) since 1922. The majority of the Company’s products are sold under the familiar brand names Tootsie Roll, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Fruit Chews, Tootsie Frooties, Caramel Apple Pops, Child’s Play, Charms, Blow Pop, Candy Carnival, Cella’s chocolate covered cherries, Dots, Crows, Junior Mints, Junior Caramels, Charleston Chew, Sugar Daddy, Sugar Babies, Andes, Fluffy Stuff cotton candy, Dubble Bubble, Razzles, Cry Baby and Nik-L-Nip. For more information visit us at www.tootsie.com.