Billionaire José Luis Cutrale, known as Brazil’s “Orange King,” who built a powerhouse orange juice exporting business and riled up some orange growers in the process, has died at age 75. He passed away in London on Wednesday from natural causes, according to a statement from his family.
As a young boy, Cutrale worked for his father, an orange trader and grower, at a municipal market in São Paulo, Brazil. In 1967, when he was 21, he and his father founded orange grower Sucocítrico Cutrale. It grew to become one of the industry leaders, exporting orange juice and orange juice concentrate to countries around the world.
José Luis Cutrale was “a man of few words and great commitment, with strong interpersonal skills and brilliance in business,” his family’s statement said. He invested in a wide range of businesses, including salads, beverages, snacks, logistics, real estate, financial services and health care, per the statement. In 2015, he and Brazilian banking billionaire Joseph Safra (d. 2020) acquired banana company Chiquita Brands International for $1.3 billion. Revenues of that group, now called Chiquita Holdings, hit $3.1 billion in 2020, the most recent year for which filings are available.
José Luis Cutrale is survived by his wife Rosana, three children–Junior, Henrique and Graziela–and six grandchildren. Forbes estimated his fortune at $1.9 billion.