Godiva, the luxury chocolate maker, has chosen the head of its international division, Mohamed Elsarky, to succeed Jim Goldman as chief executive officer.
The company, owned by Turkey’s Ulker Biskuvi Sanayi AS (ULKER), confirmed an earlier report by Bloomberg News. Elsarky joined Godiva in 2010 from Lion Capital and previously worked at cereal maker Kellogg Co.
Goldman stepped down earlier this year after about a decade in charge. Under his leadership, the 88-year-old chocolatier has pushed into emerging markets like China with new shops. Godiva gets about half its revenue in North America, with the U.S. its biggest market. Japan is the second-largest.
Yildiz Holding AS, parent company of Ulker, acquired Godiva from Campbell Soup Co. for $850 million in 2008.
Global sales of premium chocolate are growing faster than the total market and may be worth about $8 billion a year, according to Mintel. In recent years, Godiva’s revenue has increased about 15 percent annually, Goldman has said.
Murat Ulker, the Turkish billionaire who controls Godiva, said he has at least $500 million in cash for acquisitions this year after buying DeMet’s Candy Co. for $221 million. Ulker’s net worth is at least $1.4 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Godiva, named after the legend of Lady Godiva, was set up in 1926 in Brussels by Joseph Draps. The brand was introduced in the U.S. in 1966, the same year that Campbell Soup acquired a 33 percent stake. The soup maker bought Godiva outright in 1974.
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