Johannes Peter “Hans” Riegel was born on March 10, 1923 in Bonn, Germany. He graduated from the Jesuit boarding school Aloisiuskolleg. Academically accomplished he earned a doctorate degree at Bonn University in 1951. His thesis was, “The Development of the world sugar industry during and after the Second World War”.
Hans was a German champion badminton player having won the men’s doubles as well as the mix doubles title. He was elected the first president of the German Badminton Association in 1953. Hans also organized the construction of the first indoor badminton court in Germany.
Yet more than his badminton exploits Hans is better known for candies. He is also an entrepreneur and has run confectionery maker Haribo since 1946. His father founded the company and invented the Gummi bear in 1922.
Hans is credited with inventing more than 200 sweets including Vademecum sugar-free gum and Maoam fruit chewies and said he gets his inspiration from reading comic books and watching movies for children.
He has been running the company along with his brother Paul until Paul’s death in 2009. Hans owns 50 percent of the privately held firm and his brother Paul owns the other half. Childless and divorced he is still running the company (estimated revenues of $2.9 billion in 2011) with Paul’s children now also actively participating in company affairs.