Carasso, born in 1905 in Thessaloniki, went on to set up Dannon in the US, expand in countries including Mexico, Brazil and Morocco, and see through two key mergers. And as honorary chairman of the group, he took part in celebrations to mark the 90th anniversary of the Danone brand earlier this year.
“We all know how much our group, which carries his first name, owes to Daniel Carasso, who dedicated all his boundless energy and optimism to its success ever since 1929,” Danone chief executive Franck Riboud said in a statement.
Carasso’s father Isaac started selling yogurt with cultures from France’s Pasteur Institute in pharmacies and on doctors’ recommendations in Spain after World War I, taking the Catalan diminutive of Daniel – Danon – and adding an ‘e’ to get around authorities that wouldn’t register a proper name.
Four years later, in 1923, Isaac sent his son to Marseille to study business. Daniel Carasso subsequently attended the Pasteur Institute and in 1929 set up the Societé Parisienne du Yoghourt in Paris.
Danone merged with fromage frais company Gervais in 1967 to create Gervais-Danone. But the turning point came when Carasso met Franck Riboud’s father Antoine, head of BSN Group, in 1972, and a year later the pair merged BSN and Gervais-Danone. 30 years after the merger, Carasso commented that the creation of the larger group had been “the crowning reward for a lifetime of efforts”.
Danone today has some 76,000 employees and had sales in 2008 of €15.2bn.
Danone’s 90 years of innovation is the subject of the cover story for the next issue of Dairy Innovation magazine. To subscribe to Dairy Innovation, click here.
Source: Group Danone
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