Michael F. Gilmore
Class of 2001
Michael was born January 26, 1945, in Philadelphia and grew up in Drexel Hill, Pa. the youngest of four children to a loving mother and father . His father was an automobile dealer and one of the first to introduce the Volkswagon brand into Pennsylvania. Michael received his bachelor’s degree as a marketing major from St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia and soon after married his loving wife and dearest friend Anna Pratta. Michael and Anna have two daughters – Kimberly and Kara – and five grandsons. From 1966 to 1971, he served honorably in the U.S. Air Force with the Military Airlift Command C-130 Hercules wing. Michael is an avid alumni and supporter of Saint Joseph’s University, its Food Marketing Haub School of Business and is a Barbelin Society member. He often regards his successful corporate career based on his St. Joe’s education.
A 46 year veteran of the confectionery/snack industry, Michael began his career as a sales representative and area sales manager at Colgate-Palmolive Co. He then moved on to Standard Brands Inc.’s Planters/Curtiss Confectionery division as district sales manager, rising to the rank of vice-president and national sales manager at the Standard Brands foods division. In 1983, he became executive vice-president, sales and marketing at Nestlé Perugina and five years later, he became the president and CEO at Nestlé Rowntree, USA.
In 1988 Michael joined the Ferrero Group USA, Inc. as chief operating officer and board director, the position he held at the time of his induction and retiring in 2008 with a legacy of introducing Ferrero Rocher Chocolate and Nutella Spread into the USA mass market while driving Tic Tac brand to a number one share of the category. He is sometimes regarded as the “Godfather of Premium Chocolates” in the USA. Michael was active for over 25 years in the NCA and chairman of its All Candy EXPO as well as chairman of NCA. As Chairman he introduced the successful trade publication “Candy & Snack Today” which he said “will lead the industry’s trade publications in the future”. Following his retirement from Ferrero his dearest friend Sal Ferrara recruited Michael to guide Ferrara Pan Candy Company into the chocolate business and consulting with Sal on his decision to sell the family company which today is owned by Giovanni Ferrero, Ferrero Group owner and Michael’s leader at Ferrero USA .
Michael says working at Standard Brands under F. Ross Johnson and Peter Rogers resulted in some of the most memorable moments in his career as played out in the book and movie “Barbarians at the Gate” and in 10 years, I experienced what others might consider a lifetime of experiences. Spending 20 years under the leadership of Michele Ferrero and his son Giovanni were he says “the greatest and most productive years of his career”.
He adds: There is nothing like this confectionery industry, where we have great colleagues, great competition and great products. Where else can you compete vigorously yet develop such bonding friendships at the same time?
Michael credits his success to his father, as well as Jack Byrne, “who mentored me in salesmanship and sales management and also gave me confidence in myself, Peter Rogers, who brought me into the confectionery business, and my wife, Anna, who makes it all happen and is the reason for all I have done.”
Michael advises those who follow him: “Listen and follow your instincts; rely on your judgement – then you are more likely to have the best road map for your success”.