Quick: How much do you think the Tootsie Roll company is worth? Yeah, those little chewy chocolate candies. If you said anything below $2 billion, you’re underestimating how much money is in the Tootsie Roll bank—and not the one you won at the school carnival.
Until his passing on Tuesday at the age of 95, the man behind the candy behemoth was chairman and CEO Melvin Gordon, who ran the company for a remarkable 53 years, working a full schedule as recently as last month, according to Yahoo Finance. He was the oldest CEO running a company traded on a major American stock exchange.
Founded in 1896 on the popularity of the product the company is named after, Tootsie Roll Industries (as it is officially called) now has lots of well-known brands under its belt, including familiar faces like Blow Pops, Junior Mints and the much maligned Charleston Chew—all of which were acquired under Gordon’s leadership.