Mr. Alfred Theodor Ritter, chairman of the advisory board of Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG, Germany is the winner of the 50th anniversary edition of the European Candy Kettle Club Award. The award ceremony was held at 6th of October 2023 in Breitenbrunn/Weiden, Austria.
The location couldn´t have been better. At the Fritz directly at lake Neusiedler close to Vienna, Alfred Ritter, his family and representatives of the company as well as the members of the club and their partners celebrated a perfect party for a very special personality. With former winners like Pedro Lopez Lopez and his family, Oliver and Sonja Schindler, Josef Zotter and his daughter Julia, Majlen Fazer from Finland and of course Mr. Jan Kolansky and his son Lukas from Colian in Poland the club built a perfect framework to celebrate the lifetime achievement of Mr. Alfred Theodor Ritter. The club is proud to give the award to a man, who dedicated his life to chocolate and the people who work with and around it.
Alfred T. Ritter was born on April 1, 1953 in Stuttgart. He is a shareholder and since 2015 Chairman of the Advisory Board of Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG. From 2005 to 2014, he was CEO of the family business founded by his grandparents in 1912.
The graduate psychologist, who practiced as a psychotherapist in Heidelberg in the 1980s, holds several positions on various foundation and supervisory boards and is a founding member, main shareholder and chairman of the advisory board of Ritter Energie- und Umwelttechnik GmbH und Co. KG.
A turning point in his professional career was the reactor catastrophe in Chernobyl in 1986, as a result of which the hazelnut harvest in Turkey, which is important for Ritter Sport products, became unusable due to radiation exposure.
Against the background of this experience, Alfred T. Ritter increasingly turned to the topic of renewable energies and founded Ritter Energie und Umwelttechnik in 1988, which made him a pioneer in the field of solar thermal energy.
Alfred T. Ritter, who was named "Eco Manager of the Year" in 1997, has received numerous German and international sustainability prizes such as the European-Chinese Sustainability Prize, the German Solar Prize and the B.A.U.M. environmental award. He is a recipient of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Order of Merit of the State of Baden-Württemberg. In 2019 he was also awarded the German Founder's Prize for his lifetime achievements.
When Ritter Sport got into a difficult phase in the early 2000s, Alfred T. Ritter himself took over as CEO. A step that he justifies as follows: "A company like this is like a family member, you can't let them down when they're not doing well." He managed to put the company back on the road to success.
Alfred T. Ritter shares the conviction with his sister Marli Hoppe-Ritter that only a company that operates sustainably can have a future. Numerous decisions in recent years and decades reflect this attitude of the Ritter family: from the start of the first cocoa program over 30 years ago to the switch to green electricity or the construction of an own combined heat and power plant to the development of an own cocoa farm El Cacao in Nicaragua, which should be a good place for people, nature and cocoa.