Karl Albrecht

Karl Albrecht Photo

Karl Albrecht is the founder and owner of the popular German discount store Aldi. According to Forbes he is one of the wealthiest men in the world with an estimated net worth of $22.6 billion. He is the richest person in Germany and fourth wealthiest in the whole of Europe.

Albrecht was born on 20th February 1920 in Essen, Germany. His father was a miner and his mother owned a small grocery store in a suburb of Essen. Although raised in comfortable settings financially and otherwise, it can’t be said that he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth; the billionaire earned his fortune with his entrepreneurial skills and talent. His brother Theo worked alongside him while he transformed his mother’s small grocery store which was situated in a corner, into what it is today. Albrecht started by working as his mother’s assistant. He also served in the World War II. After the war ended, the brothers took over their mother’s business and changed the name to Aldi. The first Aldi store was launched in 1961. Today there are over 4000 Aldi outlets in Germany alone and more than 8000 in France, Australia, Greece, Portugal, Great Britain, Spain, Switzerland, US and Poland. Aldi sells all kinds of products like skincare products, household items etc.

The ownership of the store was split between the two brothers with Karl getting the more lucrative outlets of Southern Germany and Theo was made responsible for the northern outlets and the rest of the stores in Europe. Karl was lucky to get the rights of the brand in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia. There is not much known about Karl because he never preferred to stay in the limelight especially because his brother Theo was kidnapped in 1971. It is said that he is married and has two children and neither of them are employees of Aldi.

Karl had a private golf course built in 1976 as he is a huge fan of the game. The golf course is called Öschberghof. He is an enthusiastic collector of the flower orchids. He also has a collection of typewriters. Karl retired from his day to day activities in Aldi Sud in 1994 but kept his post of chairman of the board. He left this position in 2002 and along with that, every control he had over the firm. The Aldi outlets are all over the world and are competition to other supermarket giants like Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco. Its biggest competitor in Germany is another discount chain named ‘Lidl’.

In 2012, his wealth peaked to $25.4 billion making him tenth richest on the Forbes list of billionaires. Karl, aged 93, is also the most senior billionaire in the Top 20 billionaires list. Karl is a very reclusive man so not much is known about his life.