News this morning that Forrest E. Mars Jr has died at the age of 84 on 26th July 2016. Along with his siblings John and Jaqueline Forrest was key to the growth of Mars from a not insubstantial business turning over $1billion in the 1970’s to the global $35 billion business it is today.
Looking back, the 1983 decision to formalise the Five Principles of Mars, a positive business objective first expressed by their father Forrest E. Mars Snr in 1947 laid the foundations for the successful business structure in place today. The principles of mutual benefits that make a difference to all people and also the planet through Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom is topical and relevant to our aspirations today, but almost sixty years ago when first considered was a clearly a significant, and I think, radical idea.
Reading the obituary today not only was there a lot packed into a successful business career, but Mr Mars also supported many philanthropic and educational causes. A keen supporter of American historical and environmental projects, I particularly enjoyed learning that he loved adventuring in his own expedition ship, including navigation the famous North West Passage route across the top of North America. Mr Mars sponsored and sometimes joined an annual trip by students of his old school to Antarctica; a wonderful gesture that I think would create memories and an environmental awareness those fortunate students would carry with them for life.
Made “Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur” by French President Jacques Chirac and awarded “The Order of Friendship” by Russian President Medvedev, recognising this internationally renowned businessman’s skills and acumen, Mr Mars was also clearly a very private man taking great pleasure from his extended family, and causes close to his heart; hearing he insisted repeatedly that everyone’s work should be fun and meaningful if at all possible, is no bad employer legacy either.
Written by: Colin from KSV.