Businessman Michael Strauss passed away today (Saturday) at the age of 86. Strauss served as chairman of the food giant “Strauss” between 1975 and 2001 and continued to serve as chairman of “Strauss Holdings” until his death. He is survived by three children: Ofra Strauss, Irit Strauss-Kupler and Adi Strauss, and his sister Raya Strauss-Ben Dror.
The Israel Manufacturers Association issued a statement following Strauss’ death: “Israeli industry bows its head with the passing of one of the founding fathers and winner of the Industry Award.
The president of the Manufacturers’ Association, Dr. Ron Tomer, wrote on his Twitter account: “Mickey, we promise to carry your torch forward. Israeli industry will continue to lead the Israeli economy and society with initiative, innovation and tenacity. Israeli industrial companies today all bow their heads respectfully.”
Strauss was born in Germany to Richard (Dr. of Economics) and Hilda Strauss. In 1936 he immigrated to Eretz Israel with his family. In the same year, his parents established a dairy in their backyard in Nahariya. After completing his military service, Strauss attended a dairy technician course at the Weizmann Institute of Science, and later attended a dairy technician school in Switzerland and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Harvard University in the United States.
Over the years, he held a number of positions at Strauss for about 12 years, and then turned to work for three years at Adnir (an ice cream products company that operated in the south). Strauss returned to work in the family business and joined the development and promotion of the dairy.
In 1975, upon the death of his father, he was appointed chairman of Strauss Dairies. In 1991 he was appointed president and chairman of the Strauss Group. At this stage the group included many other companies and activities in the field of food in Israel. Since 1995 he began to expand the group’s activities internationally when he led to signing a partnership agreement with Unilever Corporation. Danone Global which started producing yogurt delicacies under the international brand, and later Danone Corporation acquired 20% of the dairy.
Michael Strauss (Photo: Sivan Farage)
In 1997, Strauss led a strategic move to enter into a partnership with an elite company and the acquisition of control of the company, a very significant partnership for the group – it was an entry into the roasted coffee field in international markets. The Strauss Group has since become the fifth largest coffee producer in the world in terms of purchasing green coffee.
One of the big and significant moves Strauss made before retiring from day-to-day management was in 1999 with the partnership (50%) with the giant corporation PepsiCo-Frito Lay, which formed the infrastructure for another partnership formed between Strauss and PepsiCo in 2007 in the field of fresh salads, when PepsiCo entered as a partner. 50% in Sabra, which is jointly owned with Strauss.
In 2001, Strauss transferred the position of chairman of the group to his daughter Ofra and served as chairman of Strauss Holdings (which owns the shares in the family company and controls the Strauss Group) and as a board member of the group. In June 2011, he announced his retirement as a director of the company, and in his place, his son Adi was appointed to the board of directors of the Strauss Group.
Under Strauss’ management and leadership, the company quickly grew, reached many achievements and became a very significant company in the Israeli economy and an international company operating in more than 20 countries. The company employs 7,000 people in Israel and a total of about 14,000 employees worldwide. Michael’s sister, Raya Strauss-Ben Dror, joined him and helped shape the image of a leading company until her retirement from the company in 2003. Strauss co-owned with his sister Strauss Investments, a company that manages funds and investments and is active in Israel and abroad.
Although not an active member of the Strauss Group, Strauss continued to be the controlling owner and chairman of Strauss Holdings – the parent company of Strauss Group, a public company. In addition, Strauss served as a director and controlling shareholder in other private companies such as Strauss Investments -Challenge, assets of Michael Strauss.
During the years of his activity in the company and even from the time of his retirement from active management in the Strauss Group, Strauss engaged in broad public activity. He was a member of the small committee of the Dairy Industry, chairman of the Mailel, chairman of the Advertisers ‘Association, a member of various public councils, and of the Israel Manufacturers’ Association he served as chairman of the Food Division, chairman of the Audit Committee and a presidential member. For more than 17 years for the city of Acre and has greatly helped the city in building a vision, raising resources, establishing cultural and educational enterprises and encouraging companies and industry to invest in the city and expand the scope of employment in it.
In 1983, Strauss won the Industry Award in the food category on behalf of the Israel Manufacturers Association, and in 2007 the Prime Minister came, due to his great contribution to the economic development of the Galilee in particular and the State of Israel in general.
In May 2006, he was granted honorary citizenship of the city of Acre. In 2006, Dun & Bradstreet awarded him a long-standing award for managerial excellence, after being elected by the heads of the Israeli economy.
According to a ranking by the world’s tenths compiled by Forbes magazine in 2011, the fortune of Michael Strauss and his family is estimated at $ 1.1 billion. They were ranked 12th on the list of Israel’s richest and 1,057th on the world richest list.
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