Karl Albrecht Net Worth & Biography
|Popular Name:||Karl Albrecht|
|Real Name:||Karl Hans Albrecht|
|Birth Date:||20 February 1920|
|Birth Place:||Essen, Rhine Province, Weimar Republic|
|Age:||Died on 16 July 2014 (aged 94)|
|Net Worth:||$26.1 Billion|
Karl Albrecht was a German businessman and retailer, who was best known for establishing the discount supermarket chain Aldi Sud. His mother owned a small grocery shop whereas his father worked as a baker’s assistant and miner. Karl worked in the German Army during the Second World War and after returning from the war, he teamed up with his younger brother Theo, and they took over their mother’s business. In 1961, they established Aldi store. However, a few years later, due to some personal disputes, the siblings divided their business and Albrecht gave the Northern section to his brother while retaining the Southern section. Within a few years, his business experienced a huge explosion and grew to open many new stores across all the major cities in Germany. By the end of 2002, Karl had established more than 4000 stores in the country. Today, his business maintains a strong presence in many countries of the world, including the United States, France, Poland, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Hungary, Australia, the United Kingdom, and many others. The existing Aldi Sud is a conglomerate that encompasses 35 companies and has more than 6500 stores across the world. According to Forbes magazine in 2010, Karl was the richest man in Germany and was ranked 10th richest person in the world. More details follow below.
Early Life: Childhood, Family
The German entrepreneur was born Karl Hans Albrecht on 20 February 1920 in Essen, Germany. He and his younger brother, Theo Albrecht, were born and raised in modest circumstances in a Catholic family. Their father, Karl Sr., worked as a baker’s assistant in the later part of his life after working as a miner for many years. On the other hand, their mother, Anna, owned and managed a small grocery store in the staff quarter of Schonnebeck, a suburb of Essen.
Karl worked in a delicatessen shop while Theo completed an apprenticeship in his mother’s store.
Professional Life: Business Career
Karl served in the Army during the Second World War II and was wounded on the Eastern Front. As soon as he retired from his duties, he teamed up with his brother who had also served in the Army, and they jointly took over their mother’s business and established what became Albrecht KG.
In 1960, the siblings had a disagreement over whether to sell cigarettes. While Theo wanted to sell them, Karl had the idea that they would attract shoplifters. As a result, they divided their business into two separate parts, with Karl maintaining all stores south of the Ruhr, while Theo retained all stores north of the Ruhr. The first Aldi (short for Albrecht Discount) was launched in 1962, and the two groups became known as Aldi Süd and Aldi Nord, respectively.
In 1994, Karl removed himself from the daily running of Aldi Süd and took the position of board chairman until 2002. At the beginning of 2002, he relinquished this position, thereby wholly ceding control of the company. As of the 2010s, the business is no longer managed by any of Karl Albrecht’s family members.
Personal Life: Wife, Children, Private Interests
Apart from business, Karl Albrecht had an intense interest in golf. In 1976, he developed his own golf course which he called the Öschberghof, and played until he passed away.
After he retired from the day-to-day operation at Aldi Sud, he gave the company’s responsibilities to non-family members and his sons are not in any way involved with the company.
He was a very reclusive man who never took part in public life for many years prior to his death. As a result, little information is known about him and his private affairs. According to a Forbes magazine report, the businessman had two children, both sons, neither of whom was employed by Aldi. He reportedly resided in Essen, as did his brother Theo. Various report suggests that the Hermit-like nature of his life and that of his family members was developed after the kidnapping incident of his brother in 1971. After the near-death experience in which his brother was held at gunpoint by his abductors, Karl, just like Theo, started to live very discretely and went to work every day in an armored vehicle.
In addition to playing golf on his golf course that was built in 1976, Karl also had a hobby of raising orchids.
Karl Albrecht Net Worth: Salary, Income Sources, Assets
This reclusive German billionaire tycoon passed on in 2014, leaving a fortune of $26.1 billion behind. During his life, Karl Albrecht was the wealthiest businessperson in Germany. He acquired all his wealth from the highly prosperous Aldi chain of grocery stores which he founded along with his brother Theo.