Patrick Ricard, the chairman of global wine and spirits group Pernod Ricard, has died suddenly at the age of 67.

The company was founded by Ricard’s father Paul in 1932 and owns major brands including Pernod Anise and Ricard Pastis.

He joined the company in 1967 and held roles including MD and later CEO, spearheading deals including the 2005 acquisition of Allied Domecq, which saw overlapping spirits brands sold off to Fortune Brands and Diageo. He resigned executive duties at the head of the group three years later.

Ricard was reported to have passed away on Friday. French media reports suggested he had heart problems.

“The staff of Paul Ricard, as well as the 18 000 employees of Pernod Ricard group, share the grief of the family,” a company statement said.

He was married with three children and was given honours including Commander of the Legion of Honour and Knight of the National Order of the Merit.