Pernod Ricard chairman dies
Patrick Ricard, the chairman of French wine and spirits group Pernod Ricard, has died unexpectedly aged 67.
"The family, the board of directors and the general management of Pernod Ricard have the sad duty to inform you of the sudden death of Patrick Ricard, which occurred (on Friday)," a statement said.
Sources said Ricard died at Sainte-Anne hospital in the southern town of Toulon, where he was taken on Friday afternoon after a heart attack on the nearby family-owned island of Bendor.
Ricard was the son of Paul Ricard, who first commercialised pastis, a popular anise-flavoured liqueur, in 1932.
He led the company, which also produces Absolut Vodka, Martell cognac, Perrier-Jouet champagne and Glenlivet whisky, for three decades and was chairman and CEO between 1978 and 2008.
Ricard was married and the father of three.
The company is the world's number two alcoholic beverage producer after Britain's Diageo and its success led US magazine Fortune to name Patrick Ricard European Businessman of the Year in 2006.
Pernod Ricard is to publish its annual results on August 30.
The company's net profit in the first six months of the fiscal year rose 20 per cent to 800 million euros ($946.07 million) and sales over nine months gained seven per cent to 6.3 billion euros.