Forrest E. Mars
Chocolate lovers have Forrest E. Mars, Sr. to thank for those milk chocolate delights that melt in your mouth – not in your hands. He’s the man behind such sweet treats as M&Ms and Milky Way.
Mars invented, patented and marketed the chocolate creations. This business leader successfully built a massive chocolate candies empire by way of a multinational corporation that later became known as M&M Mars, Inc.
Forrest E. Mars, Sr. – The Sweet Road to Success
Success did not come easy to Forrest E. Mars, Sr. But with an inherent gift for business and a high degree of competitiveness, Mars was able to rise to the top. His story is a classic example of how hard work and tenacity can lead to heightened business success.
Mars was raised by his grandparents after his parents divorced. His dad, Frank ran a thriving candy business in Chicago and invited his son to work with him. The younger Mars wished to expand the business, but his dad didn’t so he bought his dad out, got the rights to sell certain Mars brands abroad and relocated to England. While there he learned the candy business and later moved back to America to start a food manufacturing firm.
One time Mars came across candies that were basically small chocolate balls or pellets covered by sugar shells. In 1940, Mars came up with his personal version of the candy-coated choco treats and brought them to Hershey Corporation. Mars pitched his idea to Hershey via Bruce Murrie (Hershey executive William Murrie’s son). The pair named their product after their last name initials – M&Ms.
M&Ms went on sale for the first time in 1941. Eventually, Mars took solitary ownership of the M&M brand. He officially merged Mars, Inc. with his firm in 1964. Mars went on to patent a line of vending machine units that utilized electronic recognition systems.
In 1993, Mars retired from Mars, Inc. and launched a new candy company – Ethel M. Chocolates. Ethel M. joined Dove and M&M Inc. to form M&M Mars sometime in 2003. The company’s brands now include Kudos, Twix, Combos, Dove ice cream and pet food brands Pedigree and Kal Kan. Forrest E. Mars, Sr. died July 1, 1999, at age 95.
The Forrest E. Mars, Sr. Quick Bio
Full Name: Forrest E. Mars, Sr.
Birthdate: March 21, 1904
Industry: Food & Tobacco
Key Success Traits: imagination, highly competitive nature, tenacity and a keen eye for business
At the time of Forrest E. Mars, Sr.’s death, his estimated net worth was pegged at $4 billion, making him one of the wealthiest people in the US. His sons John and Forrest Mars, Jr. now hold executive positions at the company. Each is believed to be worth a cool $4 billion. With offices based in Hackettstown, New Jersey, M&M Mars has 30,000 employees worldwide and boasts of annual sales of over $20 billion.