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La Serenísima boss dies

Pascual Mastellone (right) speaks to Buenos Aires Governor Daniel Scioli and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in a 2008 file photo.

Pascual Mastellone was 84 years old

Pascual Mastellone, the owner of one of Argentina’s most recognizable brands of dairy products La Serenísima, died yesterday at the age of 84.

In sticking with the habits of a man who celebrated his 80th birthday not with the rich and famous but with his employees, the wake in his honour will be held today at the La Serenísima factory in General Rodríguez, Buenos Aires province.

News of the businessman’s death in the early hours of yesterday morning was announced in a family press release that alluded to some of the long-term health problems Mastellone had been suffering.

“The Mastellone family expresses with profound pain the death of the dear Don Pascual during last night at the age of 84 after a long and difficult illness that he faced with the same inexhaustible determination, strength and energy as during the distinct challenges throughout his life,” it read.

Mastellone was born August 7, 1930, a year after his parents Antonino Mastellone and Teresa Aiello founded the small firm Mastellone Brothers on the outskirts of Greater Buenos Aires.

By the age of five, Mastellone junior was already lending a hand at the small company that began producing cheese and ricotta. By 1952, at the age of 21, he had taken over the firm, after the sudden death of his father. “The company is my life,” he said in a Prensa Económica interview in 2011.

Under Mastellone, La Serenísima — as the company would come to be known — would grow from a small-time producer of dairy products into one of Latin America’s most commercially successful dairy products brands. In Argentina, the firm produces 54 percent of the country’s liquid milk.

In his more than 50 years at the head of the company, Mastellone also oversaw the introduction of milk in sachets to the local market, the improvement of quality controls, the use of ultra-pasteurization to create “fermented milk,” and the incorporation of fortifiers like iron and calcium into dairy products.

One of the La Serinísima owner’s most noted traits was his affinity with his employees, 4,400 of whom he celebrated his 80th birthday with in 2010..

His family yesterday recalled his affection for the company’s employees.

“The departure of Don Pascual saddens not only us but the Big Family, as he always called it, and his absence forces us to continue his legacy along the exemplary track he marked out, one based on conviction, dedication and unwavering spirit of struggle.”

Herald staff

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