Patak's former owner Kirit Pathak dies in Dubai car crash

image copyrightABF
image captionKirit Pathak built Patak's up from a family business to an international brand worth about £200m

Kirit Pathak, the former head of curry sauce manufacturer Patak's, has died in a car crash in the United Arab Emirates, the brand's owners have said.

The 68-year-old died in hospital on 23 January after the crash in Dubai.

His family's business, which has its headquarters in Leigh, Greater Manchester, was sold to Associated British Foods (ABF) in 2007.

ABF's George Weston said Mr Pathak had had "astute business acumen and a passion for authentic Indian cuisine".

Patak's was set up by Mr Pathak's mother and father in 1956, after they arrived in Britain from Kenya, accompanied by their four sons and two daughters with only £5 between them.

They began by selling samosas from their tiny kitchen and eventually, under the control of Mr Pathak, built up a business worth about £200m that supplied 90% of Britain's 7,500 Indian restaurants and sold cooking sauces, curry pastes, chutneys and pickles in more than 40 countries worldwide.

The 68-year-old was also responsible for dropping the "h" from the family's name on the firm's labels in an effort to make it easier for English speakers to pronounce.

image copyrightGoogle
image captionPatak's was sold to Associated British Foods in 2007

ABF managing director Andy Mayhew said Mr Pathak's "visionary leadership" had "turned Patak's into one of the UK's most successful food brands".

He said he had been a friend for more than 13 years and he would "miss enormously both his good company and wise counsel".

Mr Weston said Mr Pathak, who lived in Bolton before moving to Dubai after the sale of the business to ABF, had been "a great man who was blessed with entrepreneurial flair, astute business acumen and a passion for authentic Indian cuisine".

"[He] and his family revolutionised the way we eat at home and he leaves behind a legacy that not only employs hundreds of people but is enjoyed by millions of homes worldwide every day," he added.

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