Artisan du Chocolat has sold a majority stake to Mohamed Elsarky, former president and CEO of Godiva Chocolatier.
Elsarky will become chairman of Artisan du Chocolat, effective immediately. With a global FMCG and private equity background, Elsarky was responsible for the turnaround and expansion of Godiva as a leading prestige retailer of Belgian chocolates across international markets. For almost a decade under his leadership, Godiva expanded its presence across channels and geographies, reaching almost 800 stores in more than 35 countries.
“Acquiring a brand during a global pandemic was always going to be a challenge, but I was determined to invest in this unique business,” Elsarky said. “I believe wholeheartedly in Artisan’s potential. Artisan du Chocolat is an absolute gem – it has all the ingredients for a fantastic business recipe: creativity, uncompromising quality and dedication to its craft. With Anne Weyns’ relentless determination, the company has already transformed from a start-up to a renowned luxury chocolatier with tremendous growth opportunity. I feel privileged to join Anne and her team to realise the ambitions which the business deserves.”
Details of the transaction, which closed on Oct. 30, remain undisclosed. Elsarky’s investment is backed by a financial investor. Advisers included Bluebox Corporate Finance, MHA Carpenter Box, RSM Corporate Finance, Dickson Minto LLP and EMW Law LLP.
Since its founding in 1999 in Borough Market in London, Artisan du Chocolat has celebrated inventiveness, in keeping with the flair of its founder Anne Weyns to deliver extraordinary chocolates that break the mould. Artisan’s chocolates are British-made from its own production atelier in Ashford, Kent, which has been kept busy throughout COVID-19. The business employs nearly 80 staff in England.
Artisan uses fine flavour cocoa beans, which have been sourced sustainably, mostly from farmers in South America. It has retail stores in London in Chelsea, Selfridge’s and Borough Market and online, where it ships worldwide. The company also provides private-label chocolates to the top fine food retailers in the UK.
Artisan du Chocolat has caught the eye of famous chefs, who have bought the product for their restaurants. Restaurateur Gordon Ramsay was its first customer and has since dubbed it “the Bentley of chocolate.” Michel Roux Jnr of Le Gavroche described Artisan as “the leading light in the world of modern chocolate.”
Iconic Artisan products include the monogrammed trunk Voyage du Chocolat, No. 1 Salted Caramels, Pearls, and new to the range, the extraordinary Pyramide de Chocolats. Artisan also offers a vegan-friendly range and soon Artisan will launch Beankind, a range of delicious plant-based chocolate truffles and treats with a wider audience reach.
“I am delighted to welcome Mohamed Elsarky to Artisan,” Weyns said. “Mohamed not only shares my passion for fine chocolate in spades, but importantly brings an unparalleled global experience in branded and private-label chocolates and the track record of transforming businesses and developing scale, while preserving quality. Under Mohamed’s leadership as chairman, we will accelerate Artisan’s sweet journey to bring smiles and pleasure to many more people, which is very much needed these days.”