Veil of Secrecy Hangs Over Tootsie Roll Industries
Elderly CEO won't hint at succession plans
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2012 3:37 PM CDT
It's hard to open the wrapper of Tootsie Roll Industries.   (Evan-Amos/Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – What's going on at Tootsie Roll Industries? The world may never know, at least if the company's elderly executives have their way. Tootsie Roll refuses to talk to journalists, won't hold quarterly earnings calls, and sends out poorly-scanned PDFs as earnings releases, the Wall Street Journal observes. Financial analysts have given up trying to follow the company. "I think the only way you can get a tour is by jumping over the fence and sneaking in," says one.

That worries investors, because the company hasn't given any succession plan for its CEO or president, the husband-and-wife team of Melvin Gordon, who's in his 90s, and Ellen Gordon, 80. Gordon is the oldest CEO of a company listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. The company says it has a plan but—surprise!—it's not sharing it. And, with growth stuck in neutral, but strong cash reserves, many investors think Tootsie Roll is a delectable acquisition target. Is anything in the works? Ask Mr. Owl.