Otto Beisheim Net Worth & Biography
|Popular Name:||Otto Beisheim|
|Real Name:||Otto Beisheim|
|Birth Date:||January 3, 1924|
|Age:||Died on February 18, 2013 (aged 89)|
|Spouse(s):||Inge (died in 1999)
Lise Evers (m. 2008)
|Net Worth:||$3.6 Billion|
Otto Beisheim, the German billionaire who revolutionized retailing in his country by introducing the concept of directly selling wholesale goods to customers, and the builder of Germany’s largest retailer, Metro, was found dead on Monday 18 February 2013 at his home in Bavaria. According to his foundation, the Otto-Beisheim Group, Mr. Beisheim, 89 at the time, committed suicide after a while of suffering from an incurable illness. The businessman was said to have amassed a wealth of $3.3 billion at the peak of his career, intensely maintained a private life, and rarely appeared in the public eye. Even at his company’s shareholders’ meetings, he was described to have shown up on different instances masquerading under the name Müller. He founded Metro AG back in 1964 and continued to hold a 10 percent stake in the company. It is now the third-largest retailer in the whole of Europe, behind Carrefour and Tesco of France and Britain respectively. Like Costco and Sam’s Clubs in the United States, Metro stores only sell to members. But Metro members are mostly professionals or businesses. The son of a caretaker, the late Beisheim was born near Essen, Germany on Jan 3, 1924. His family was poor and couldn’t afford to pay for his education, so he became a leather tradesman. As a successful man who accumulated wealth from the numerous business ventures he undertook, Beisheim later donated widely to schools and universities. The best known of these is a business school near Koblenz which bears his name: the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management. During the Second World War, Mr. Beisheim worked as a radio controller in the Waffen-SS wing of the Nazi Party. After the war, he worked as an electronics dealer. After returning to Germany from a trip to the United States, Beisheim founded Metro in 1964 at Mülheim an der Ruhr. He later joined with the Schmidt-Ruthenbeck and Haniel families and expanded the company into France and Austria, and later into Italy and Denmark as well. The Metro Group, which was formed through a merger of several companies in 1996, currently includes the Metro cash-and-carry stores, Real hypermarkets, electronics stores Saturn and Media Markt, and the Kaufhof line of stores across Asia and Europe. One of Mr. Beisheim’s biggest accomplishments at Metro was the purchase of 85 Walmart stores by the group’s Real division in 2006 at a time when Walmart had decided to close its operations in Germany after losing billions of dollars in revenue over a decade; the stores now function under the name Real.
Early Life: Childhood, Education
The German businessman and founder of Metro AG, Otto Beisheim, was born on 3 January 1924 near Essen, Germany. He couldn’t complete his education because his family lacked the financial means to sponsor his studies. To make ends meet, he dropped out of high school and started working as a leather tradesman.
Professional Life: Military Service, Businesses
In October 1942, when he was 18 years old, Otto Beisheim voluntarily joined the Waffen-SS. During this time, he served as Sturmmann in the SS Division Leibstandarte temporarily in an artillery brigade on the Eastern Front. There is no historical record that suggests that he was involved in war crimes during his time working with the Waffen-SS. In July 1943, he was slightly wounded in the Battle of Kursk, and in December, he incurred a severe injury near Berdychiv. In July 1944, following a long period of recovery in various military hospitals, he served as a Private in an administrative unit until May 1945 when he was taken as a British prisoner of war. He was released in March the following year.
After the war, Otto Beisheim went into the field of business with the intention of forging a new path. The first Metro Market opened in Essen-Altenessen in November 1963. On 10 January 2004, the Beisheim Center was officially opened in Berlin, built for around $463 million, including the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton chains. In 2009, he sold 5.2 percent of the shares of Metro AG to various international and national investors; a further 3.1 percent could be sold. The WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management is named after him.
On February 18, 2013, Mr. Beisheim committed suicide at his residence in Rottach-Egern, Germany. The Beisheim Group released a statement that Beisheim decided to end his own life after being diagnosed with an incurable illness.
Mr. Beisheim’s wife of nearly 50 years, Inge, passed away in 1999. They had no children. He remarried in 2008 to Lise Evers, with whom he stayed until his death.
He left his fortune to two foundations that carry his name, one in Baar, Switzerland, and the other in Munich, Germany.
Otto Beisheim Net Worth: Salary, Income Sources, Assets
The German businessman Otto Beisheim was the founder of the successful globalized retail and wholesale corporation, Metro AG, which maintains wholesale and retail stores in twenty-eight European countries, seven Asian countries, and two African countries. As of the time of his passing, Mr. Beisheim had a net worth of $3.6 billion.
The primary source of his wealth was the diversified retail and wholesale group Metro AG which he co-founded in 1963. Based in Dusseldorf, Germany, the company, today, holds the biggest markets share in Germany and joined the small group of most globalized wholesale and retail corporations worldwide. He formed Metro AG with the Schmidt-Ruthenbeck and Haniel families, and he managed the corporation Beisheim Holding Schweiz AG in addition to Metro. Beisheim Holding invests in Internet and technology companies. The business tycoon was also the owner of the high-end complex on Potsdamer Platz known as Berlin’s Beisheim Center, with apartments, office buildings, shops, cafes, and two five-star hotels. He also owns several homes and properties in Germany, France, and Switzerland.