Klaus Johann Jacobs

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Klaus Johann Jacobs
Klaus J. Jacobs.jpg
Jacobs circa 2000
Born (1936-12-03)December 3, 1936
Bremen, Germany
Died September 11, 2008(2008-09-11) (aged 71)
Nationality Swiss
Occupation Businessman
Known for Billionaire

Klaus Johann Jacobs (3 December 1936 – 11 September 2008) was a German-born billionaire with a Swiss citizenship.[1]


He was born on 3 December 1936 in Bremen, Germany.


Jacobs attended the University of Hamburg and later Stanford University.


He started his career in the global coffee and chocolates industries.

In 1962, he became Director of Purchasing and Marketing for the Jacobs AG coffee business.

In 1972 he became General Manager of the company.

In 1982, the company merged with Interfood to create Jacobs Suchard AG, Europe's number one chocolate and coffee business.

In 1990, when the consumer-oriented elements of Jacobs Suchard were sold to Philip Morris, Jacobs created with the non-consumer businesses of Jacobs Suchard a company which is now known as Barry Callebaut. Barry Callebaut is today the world's largest raw chocolate producer.

In 1991, Jacobs became also involved with the human resource services industry with the acquisition of Adia Personnel Services where he led the company to a Global Fortune 500 Company following the merger with Ecco in 1996 to form Adecco.


The Jacobs Foundation was established by Klaus J. Jacobs in December, 1988, in Zurich, Switzerland. In 2001, the founder surrendered his entire share of the Jacobs Holding AG to the Jacobs Foundation, with an effective value of CHF 1.5 billion (31.12.08 CHF 2.3 billion). The Jacobs Foundation's goal is to contribute to Productive Youth Development by bringing together basic research, application and intervention projects and through dialogue and network building. The Jacobs Foundation supports research and projects worldwide. Klaus J. Jacobs donated EUR 200 million to the Jacobs University Bremen in 2006.


He died on 11 September 2008 in Küsnacht, Switzerland.[2][3]


Decorations and awards[edit]

Klaus J. Jacobs Awards[edit]

The Klaus J. Jacobs Research Award honours outstanding achievement in child and youth development and the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Award for positive development of children and youth are awarded annually in memory of the entrepreneur and philanthropist Klaus J Jacobs, who died in 2008. The first award ceremony took place on 3 December 2009. The awards are given by the Jacobs Foundation of Zurich.


The prizes are given to honour outstanding achievements in research and practice that make a significant contribution to young people’s success in life and development.

The Klaus J. Jacobs Research Award[edit]

The Klaus J. Jacobs Research Award recognises academic research of significant social relevance for child and youth development. Additionally, research findings from the interdisciplinary projects thus honoured should be suited to active practical implementation. The prize money for the award comes to one million Swiss Francs, which can be used for an academic project chosen by the recipient.

The award winner is chosen by a jury of internationally respected researchers: Albert Bandura (Stanford University, USA), Monique Boekaerts (Leiden University, the Netherlands), Jeanne Brooks-Gunn (Columbia University, USA), Anne C. Petersen Michigan University, USA), Meinrad Paul Perrez (Université de Fribourg, Switzerland), Rainer K. Silbereisen (Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena, Germany) and William Julius Wilson (Harvard University, USA).

The Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Award[edit]

The Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Award is given for exceptional engagement by an institution or individual whose practical work makes real use of innovative ideas for the positive development of children and youth. The prize money amounts to 200,000 Swiss Francs which can be used for a project chosen by the recipient.

The award winner of the Best Practice Award is chosen by the board of the Jacobs Foundation.

2009 prizewinners:

  • Klaus J. Jacobs Research Award: Professor Laurence Steinberg (Temple University, Philadelphia)
  • Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Award: Father Johann Casutt (ATMI, Surakarta, Indonesia)

2010 prizewinners:

  • Klaus J. Jacobs Research Award: Professors Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi (Duke University, USA and King’s College London)
  • Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Award: Opstapje in Germany and a:primo in Switzerland


  1. ^ "Private excellence initiative: Jacobs Foundation invests 200 million Euro in the education of young people at International University Bremen". Jacobs University Bremen. 1 November 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-05-20. The Swiss Jacobs Foundation, which is active worldwide in education and youth development, has invested 200 million Euro in IUB. 
  2. ^ "Klaus J. Jacobs; Billionaire entrepreneur". New York Times. September 12, 2008. Retrieved 2010-12-31. Klaus J. Jacobs, 71, a German-born billionaire entrepreneur who built the world's ... firm founded by his great-uncle, Johann Jacobs & Co., when he was 33 . ... 
  3. ^ Edward Beckett (September 13, 2008). "Chocolate King Jacobs Dies. Philanthropist succumbs to cancer at 71". Forbes magazine. Retrieved 2010-12-31. Klaus J. Jacobs, chocolate magnate, philanthropist and opera lover, has died aged 71. Urs Laufer, a family spokesman, said Jacobs died of cancer early on Thursday at home in Kuesnacht, near Zurich. 
  4. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 906. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1380. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 

External links[edit]