Patak's employs more than 700 people worldwide.
Kirit Pathak, the former head of Manchester-based curry sauce manufacturer Patak’s, has died following a car crash in Dubai.
The 68-year-old businessman from Bolton died in hospital after the fatal crash which occurred on Saturday, January 23, 2021.
His family’s business, which has its headquarters in Leigh, Greater Manchester, was sold to Associated British Foods (ABF) in 2007 for more than £100m.
Kirit had emigrated to the United Arab Emirates with his wife Meena, following the sale.
After the sale of Patak’s, Kirit remained involved as chairman and later, as Honorary Life President of AB World Foods.
Meena also became a director of the brand.
Patak’s was first set up by Kirit’s parents, the late Laximishanker and Shanta Gaury Pathak. They arrived in Britain from Kenya in the late 1950s.
They were accompanied by their six children with only £5 between them.
Laximishanker and Shanta began by selling samosas from a small kitchen.
The business grew over the years, and today, Patak’s employs more than 700 people worldwide.
Patak’s supplies products for 90% of the UK’s 7,500 Indian restaurants.
It has also sold cooking sauces, curry pastes, chutneys and pickles to over 40 countries around the globe.
It was Kirit’s idea to drop the ‘h’ from the family’s name on Patak’s labels. This was done in an effort to make the name easier for English speakers to pronounce.
According to ABF’s Managing Director Andy Mayhew, it was Kirit’s “visionary leadership” that turned Patak’s into the successful empire it is today.
Speaking of his former colleague, he said:
“With his energy, enthusiasm and natural business acumen he turned Patak’s into one of the UK’s most successful food brands, cutting through the established culinary culture of the time to bring the flavours of India to the United Kingdom and beyond.
“Kirit has been a friend and mentor to me for over 13 years and I shall miss enormously both his good company and wise counsel.”
Chief Executive of ABF, George Weston, also paid tribute to Kirit Pathak by saying that he “revolutionised the way we eat at home”.
He went on to describe him as “a great man who was blessed with entrepreneurial flair, astute business acumen and a passion for authentic Indian cuisine”.
Kirit leaves behind his wife, Meena, and their three children, Neeraj, Nayan and Anjali.