Adecco entrepreneur dies in Switzerland

Klaus Jacobs, a billionaire who made his fortune in human resources and the chocolate business, has died aged 71.

This content was published on September 11, 2008 minutes

Jacobs, a Swiss citizen born in Germany, died in Küsnacht on Lake Zurich after a long illness, his family said on Thursday.

After rising through the ranks of his family's Johann Jacobs & Co coffee firm and heading the Jacobs Suchard group, he created the Zurich-based company Barry-Callebaut, currently the world's leading producer of cocoa and chocolate products.

He later expanded into human resources, acquiring the European staffing firm Adia Personnel Services in 1992 and turning it into Adecco, a Global Fortune 500 company, after a merger with Ecco in 1996. He continued to serve as honorary president of the Swiss-based firm.

In 2001 he transferred his entire fortune to the charitable Jacobs Foundation which funds job training for young people.

He served on the board of directors of Zurich Opera House from 2003.

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