Daniel Carasso, name-giver and leader of Danone, dies at 103

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Logo of Groupe Danone

Daniel Carasso, for whom his father, Isaac Carasso, named the famous yoghurt-producer Danone in 1919 in Spain, died on Sunday aged 103. "Danon" is a diminutive form for "Daniel" in Catalan.

Daniel Carasso moved the company to France in 1929. Later, with the onset of World War II, Daniel Carasso, a Sephardic Jew in occupied France, emigrated to the United States to build a new company — Dannon. He returned to Europe after the end of the war and rejoined his first company in 1951. The companies later teamed up.

He then inspirited the merger with Gervais company in 1967 and with Antoine Riboud's BSN Group in 1972 — a major step in the internationalization of the group.

He was involved in company-related activities until the very end of his life, including the recent 90th anniversary of the Danone's brand name.

Today, Danone is a world-wide producer of fruity and nutty yogurts, mousses, cream desserts, fromage frais and various dairy specialities, all claimed to have healthy benefits.

"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," chief executive officer Franck Riboud said in a statement released by Groupe Danone.