Our Founders

Our founders knew a good thing when they tasted it. And they believed in hard work, creativity and using the best methods to cook up tasty chocolates, biscuits and beverages. Today at Mondelēz International, we still believe in those same essential ingredients for success. And we continue to build on them, creating even more delicious foods and beverages you can take pleasure in - with every scrumptious bite.

Discover our European Founders

John Cadbury, Johan Jacobs, James Kraft, Jean-Romain Lefevre (and his wife Pauline Utile - together LU), Philippe Suchard and our other founders were first inspired to create great-tasting cheese, chocolate, coffee and biscuits. Since then we've kept on making delicious foods you can feel good about.

Carl Russ-Suchard (1838 - 1925), Inventor of Milka

Carl Russ-Suchard

Carl Russ-Suchard was born in Solingen, Germany in 1838. In 1884, he took over the reins of Chocolat Suchard from his father-in-law, Philippe Suchard, who founded the chocolate factory in Neuchâtel, Switzerland in 1826.

Carl Russ-Suchard had been experimenting for a long time on how to enhance the taste and consistency of chocolate bars - which were still quite bitter and hard in those days - by adding milk. At last, he succeeded in combining the cocoa mass with powdered milk that was extracted from Alpine milk. This was still an entirely innovative product at this time.

With the right intuition for the ingredients and an entrepreneurial, forward-looking vision, he was able to introduce a sustainable milk chocolate on the market with this process. In 1901, he created the renowned Milka chocolate with its one-of-a-kind lilac look, and he made it popular on a transnational level.

Up until his golden years, Carl Russ-Suchard contributed his competence and experience to chocolate production.

Carl Russ-Suchard passed away in 1925 at the age of 87.

Holger Sørensen (died 1943), founder of Dandy gum business

Holger Sørensen

In 1915, Holger Sørensen established a confectionery factory in Vejle, Denmark. His confectionery company named Vejle Caramel-og Tabletfabrik earned a reputation for high quality products. But Sørensen was always looking for new opportunities. At an exhibition in London, he noticed a new product – chewing gum. He bought the recipe and began experimenting with making chewing gum in his own kitchen. His first chewing gum, Vejle Tyggegummi, was introduced to the Danish market in January 1927 and became an instant success. Quality remained key for Holger Sørensen as it had from the start and continued as top priority for his chewing gum.

In 1939, the chewing gum maker adopted the name Dandy, and the Dandy brand name appeared for the first time.

Following Holger Sørensen’s death his son, Erik Bagger-Sørensen, took charge of the company along with his mother. After World War II, he gained sole responsibility for managing the company. With his talent for business, production, development and interest in trade and export, the Dandy company entered a period of dramatic development with new factories, export opportunities and new products. Stimorol, which would become Dandy’s most popular gum brand, was introduced in 1956. And this was followed in later years by V6 and Dirol brands.

John Cadbury (1801-1889) founder of Cadbury chocolate

John Cadbury

Born on August 12, 1801, in Birmingham, England, John Cadbury grew up following the Quaker ways. And he began his long and rich career as an apprentice to a tea dealer in Leeds in 1818. After opening a grocer’s shop in Birmingham in 1824, he quickly became known for his homemade drinking chocolate, which was considered a healthy alternative to alcohol – a beverage Quakers believed was bad for society.

His vision to expand took root in 1831, when John purchased a warehouse and began manufacturing on a commercial scale. By 1842, he was selling 16 lines of drinking chocolate in cakes and powders; 11 lines of cocoa in powders, flakes, pastes and “nibs”; and one kind of eating chocolate.

In 1846, John and his brother Benjamin became partners and re-named the company Cadbury Brothers, moving their business to a new factory in 1847. Thriving for many years, the partnership dissolved by mutual consent in 1856.

John retired in 1861 and handed over the company to his two sons, Richard and George, who helped expand the Cadbury business to become an industry leader. Throughout his life, John engaged in civic and social work, and vigorously helped protect the rights of children and animals. He died on May 11, 1889.

Jean-Romain Lefèvre (1819-1883) and Pauline-Isabelle Utile (died in 1920) founders of LU biscuits

Jean-Romain Lefèvre

Jean-Romain Lefèvre arrived in the seaside town of Nantes, France, in 1846 where he opened a biscuit factory. Local citizens enjoyed his unique cookies and pastries, often made from local ingredients.

In 1850, Jean-Romain married Pauline-Isabelle Utile. They combined their lives – and their surnames – and Lefèvre-Utile biscuits were born.

The couple opened a charming new retail store in a building adjacent to their factory. By 1880, the Lefèvre-Utile factory employed 14 workers.

And in 1882, Lefèvre-Utile biscuits won a gold medal at the Industrial Fair in Nantes. Just one year later, Jean-Romain passed away and Pauline-Isabelle began managing the bakery.

The family business soon passed to Jean-Romain and Pauline-Isabelle’s third son, Louis Lefèvre-Utile.

In 1887, Louis and his brother-in-law, Ernest Lefèvre, established the Lefèvre-Utile Company. They built a new biscuit factory using the most modern baking techniques. And Louis began advertising to promote LU biscuits. He hired the best graphic designers and painters, including Firmin Boisset and Alfons Mucha, who created stunning publicity materials.

In 1897, LU introduced what would become its signature cookie – Le Petit Êcolier or “The Little Schoolboy.” It was a delicious scalloped butter biscuit topped with fine chocolate imprinted with a schoolboy figure.

By the end of the 19th century, LU biscuits were sold throughout France and several foreign markets. And the LU factory employed several hundred workers.

Johan Throne-Holst (1868-1946) founder of Freia chocolate

Johan Throne-Holst

Known for his modern production technology and concern for workers’ welfare, Johan Throne-Holst began building one of Norway’s most beloved chocolate brands – Freia – in 1892. He bought a small backyard chocolate factory in Rodeløkka, at that time a suburb of Oslo, Norway. The Freia chocolate factory is still located there today.

By 1898, the company called A/S Freia went public and is turned into a stock company. Growing quickly, it became the most successful chocolate producer in Scandinavia.

In 1914, the Freia company received a special national prize for “outstanding products together with pioneering the fields of production technology, marketing and workers welfare.”

Johan’s business and humanitarian legacy has inspired many generations. And he set Norway’s standards for a positive work environment, encouraging both professional and personal growth.

An industry pioneer, Johan created pleasant surroundings, health services, pension benefits and profit sharing. He even made art an integral part of the Freia company environment and in 1922, commissioned the painter Edvard Munch to decorate an employee dining room. And the 12 Munch paintings in the “Freia frieze” remain there today.

Henning Throne-Holst (1895-1980) founder of Marabou chocolate

Henning Throne-Holst

Continuing his family’s sweet legacy in chocolate, Henning Throne-Holst started a new chocolate company in Sweden in 1916 as a request from his father, Johan Throne-Holst.

Johan, founder of Norway’s Freia chocolate company, was confident his 23-year-old son could apply what he taught him about the chocolate business and succeed in branching out.

So Henning bought two stores in Stockholm, one in Gothenburg and one in Malmö. He opened them under the Marabou name, which was created from the Freia company logo – the Marabou Stork.

Henning designed the new chocolate shops similar to a fashionable Freia store opened in Oslo, Norway, in the previous century. That store’s rich interior conveyed an exclusive air, with mahogany paneling, cut-glass chandeliers and velvet seating.

By the 1920s, Marabou’s four chocolate stores reflected the company’s commitment to superb quality and service. The stores catered to those who wanted fresh chocolate and elegant hand-packed boxes.

Though Freia and Marabou operated separately, they worked closely together over the years. And in 1990, Freia bought Marabou, making Freia Marabou a/s Scandinavia’s top manufacturer of chocolate and sugar confectionery.

Johann Jacobs (1869-1958) inventor of Jacobs coffee

Johann Jacobs

Johann Jacobs was born on May 20, 1869 in the rural area of Bremen, Germany. At the age of 15, he already knew he could not become a farmer. That's why Johann Jacobs decided on an apprenticeship in a Bremen general grocery store in 1884. During his training years and subsequent years of working, he learned a lot about the commercial goods of coffee, tea and cocoa. This knowledge was the capital that finally allowed him to risk taking the first step into self-employment, for which he had yearned for so long.

On January 15, 1895, Johann Jacobs opened his own "Specialty Shop for Coffee, Tea, Cocoa, Chocolate and Biscuits" in Bremen. In an ad he placed in the local daily newspaper, he offered "impeccable goods at reasonable prices."

In the beginning, Johann Jacobs limited his business to selling coffee, tea and cocoa. But he soon recognized the potential of roasting coffee.

On March 1, 1907, he obtained the official license to set up a small roasting business and soon after was able to offer ten different blends of self-roasted coffee in his shop. He now had the opportunity to "treat each variety according to its special characteristics and structure of the beans" and thereby give his coffee "a unique flavor." That boosted his revenue substantially, he said later on.

In 1913, Jacobs' coffee even got its own trademark: the image of a sack of coffee that is stemmed by two arms. Initially, the coffee was still offered in loose form and packaged during sales in the shop, but the bags bore the coffee sack logo starting in 1913 as a sign of the origin and quality of coffee from the house of Jacobs.

Demand for coffee grew steadily, and so did Jacobs' business. He began to sell his products outside of Bremen as well. In December 1926, he founded the company Joh. Jacobs & Co., and increasingly used advertising as a way to market his products.
On January 1, 1930, his nephew, Walther J. Jacobs, joined the business. He would take over the firm at a later date. Walther quickly demonstrated wise foresight: He created the longstanding Jacobs trademark, a black and yellow logo that turned Jacobs coffee into the leading brand in the industry. By World War II, Johann Jacobs had transformed his company into one of the four biggest coffee roasting operations in Germany.

Johann Jacobs passed away in 1958 at the age of 89.

Dr. Ludwig Roselius (1874-1943) inventor of Kaffee Hag

Dr. Ludwig Roselius
Ludwig Roselius was born on June 2, 1874 in Bremen, Germany. After he finished school he began training to become a merchant in 1890. In 1894 he joined his father's trading company and became a joint owner in 1897. At this time, his father's company focused on the coffee business - on Roselius' insistence - and placed great importance on high-quality raw materials and products. When his father passed away in 1902, Ludwig Roselius and his brother took over management of their father’s business.

In those days, decaffeinated coffee was still only an idea, but its potential, was already apparent at the start of the previous century. Like many other coffee manufacturers, Roselius searched for several years for a way to extract the caffeine from the coffee beans without diminishing the taste.
In 1905, he and his team of chemists finally succeeded in developing a new process to extract caffeine from the coffee beans. In this process, the caffeine was extracted from green coffee pre-treated with steam by means of slightly volatile, organic solvents. The result of this process was a virtually caffeine-free coffee that did not differ from "normal" coffee in terms of consistency and appearance, that could be roasted and ground as usual, and retained the full coffee flavor. He had this process patented in the same year, and thereby was able to produce the world's first decaffeinated coffee.

On June 21, 1906, Roselius founded the coffee trading stock corporation called Kaffee H.A.G., a company for systematic production and marketing of his new decaffeinated coffee. Starting in October 1906, he began to build a coffee plant at Bremen's Holzhafen. The facility was one of the first industrial reinforced concrete structures in Europe. It was designed by architect Hugo Wagner and met the highest state-of-the-art requirements at that time.

While the plant facilities were being built, Roselius designed a marketing strategy for the new product with his employees, which he launched across Europe over the next few years under various names, but with a single unified corporate design. In the Netherlands, for example, the product was called "Koffie Hag," in England "Lifebelt Coffee," and "Café Sanka" in France (a contraction of "sans caffeine" – without caffeine).

In 1924, Roselius also introduced his product in the USA, where he distributed it under the name "Sanka" coffee. For this purpose, he established the Sanka Coffee Corporation in New York.
Ludwig Roselius passed away in 1943 at the age of 69.

Philippe Suchard (1797-1884) founder of Suchard chocolate

Philippe Suchard

When he was just a little boy, Philippe Suchard, born in 1797 in Boudry in the Swiss canton of Neuenburg, already dreamed of producing chocolate someday himself.

At the age of ten he came into contact with chocolate for the very first time. At a pharmacist in Neuchâtel he went to buy a pound of chocolate - known as a “pick-me-up” at that time - as a medical remedy for his ailing mother. The expensive “medicine” cost him six francs. At that time this was equivalent to about three days wages for a laborer. On the way home, the ten-year-old dreamed about what it would be like to earn a living making chocolate.

Chocolate was Suchard's passion from then on. And a few years later, in 1814, he started an apprenticeship in confectionary with his older brother Frédéric in Berne.

In 1825, his childhood dream actually came true and he opened his own small confectionery business in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. He offered fine chocolate made by hand and laid the cornerstone for Suchard's success.
Just about one year later, in 1826, he built his first chocolate factory on the banks of the Serriere River, in Neuchâtel-Serrières. With the help of a kneading and stamping machine fueled by hydropower, Suchard and his employee were able to produce 25 to 30 kilograms of chocolate per day. In 1880, the ambitious Suchard expanded further and opened his first factory abroad, in the German city of Lörrach.
By 1883 Chocolat Suchard was one of the largest chocolate companies in Switzerland, and Philippe Suchard was one of the most important chocolate manufacturers. Even today, his name and his products are well-known far beyond Switzerland.

Philippe Suchard passed away in 1884 at the age of 87.

Theodor Tobler (1876-1941) inventor of Toblerone

Theodor Tobler

Theodor Tobler was born in Berne, Switzerland in 1876. His father, Jean Tobler, initially ran a 'Confiserie Spéciale' (Specialist Confectioner) business there which he had begun in 1868. And as of 1877 Jean Tobler began his own small sugar confectionery production.

Jean Tobler produced all of his candies by hand. Thanks to their popularity, the family's business quickly became profitable. In 1894, Theodor Tobler joined his parents' business. But Theodor thought the company was too small, so he suggested that his parents also produce chocolate in addition to candy and sugar confectionery, and to build a factory for this purpose.

When Jean Tobler stepped down from the business in 1900, at the age of 70, Theodor and his two siblings took over the management of the factory. They quickly expanded the operation, building it into an internationally renowned company.

During several trips to Alsace, Emil Baumann - the former production manager of the company and cousin of Theodor Tobler - discovered white nougat. Tobler and Baumann experimented by adding small pieces of the nougat to their milk chocolate. In this way, a completely new product was developed - in terms of its form and mixture - in 1908. Theodor called the new creation Toblerone and, in doing so, combined his surname with the term "Torrone," the name of an Italian variety of nougat. Toblerone became an instant sensation.

To safeguard against imitators, Theodor Tobler had the manufacturing process patented in 1909 with the Federal Institute for Intellectual Property in Berne. 

Theodor Tobler passed away in 1941 at the age of 65.