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Coffee giant dies at 78

Emilio Lavazza, third generation of the Lavazza Italian coffee dynasty, died last week at the age of 78. The company announced on Thursday Emilio died of a heart attack in his home city of Turin.

Emilio served as honorary president upon his death, a role he held since stepping down as president in 2008.

Under Emilio's leadership the business expanded internationally and captured 48% of the Italian market to become the most popular coffee brand in the country. He was the force behind the company's television advertising campaigns, which became synonymous with the Lavazza brand.

Emilio began working in the family business 1955 and was made CEO upon his father's death in 1971. He became president of the family-owned business in 1979 after the death of his uncle and ran the business alongside his cousin Alberto Lavazza, who is CEO and vice president.

Emilio was notoriously media shy, only giving one interview in nearly 40 years as the company head. However, Campden FB talked to his son Giuseppe Lavazza, vice president and marketing manager at Lavazza, in 2007 about the success of the business and the work it is doing to make coffee production more profitable and environmentally friendly for coffee growers. (Click here to read the interview)

Lavazza was founded in 1895 by Emilio's grandfather Luigi Lavazza and today has revenues of €1.1 billion and operations in over 90 countries around the world. Giuseppe works alongside fellow fourth-generation members Francesca Lavazza, director of corporate image, Marco Lavazza, development and acquisition manager, and Antonella Lavazza, who deals with the international coffee shop business. 

Picture: The Lavazza family in 2007

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