Business Strategies / Industry News

Tootsie Roll Chief Dies at 95

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

Jan 22, 2015

Media in Chicago and Boston are reporting Melvin Gordon, who ran Tootsie Roll Industries for more than 50 years, died Jan. 21 in Boston at age 95. He was chairman and CEO of the candy company.

His wife, Ellen Gordon, already president and COO, immediately took over the top roles.

The company is publicly traded, but the Gordons maintained control through a complex second class of stock. As a result, it was never a takeover target. Tootsie Roll had sales of almost $540 million in 2013, the most recent full year for which figures were available.

In addition to the iconic Tootsie Roll, which was created by Leo Hirschfield in 1986, the company made numerous small acquisitions over the years, including Charleston Chew, Junior Mints, Sugar Babies, Dubble Bubble and Charms Blow Pops.

Melvin Gordon was born and raised in Boston, graduating from Harvard in 1941, according to media reports. In 1950, he married Ellen Rubin, whose father, William Rubin, was president of Sweets Co. of America, the maker of Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops.