Berthold Albrecht, whose inheritance of half of closely held supermarkets Aldi Nord and Trader Joe’s from his father put him among the world’s 100 wealthiest people, has died. He was 58.
Albrecht was buried last month in a private ceremony attended by close family and friends, according to a full-page death notice from his wife Babette published in Handelsblatt newspaper today. There was no mention of the place or cause of his death.
“Berthold Albrecht was a very loving and extremely generous human being, an exemplary husband and father,” his wife said in the notice. He was a “fighter, never losing hope right to the end.”
Albrecht, whose fortune is estimated at $10.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, was father to five children, including quadruplets, three boys and a girl born in 1990. His father Theo Albrecht Sr., Germany’s third-richest man when he died two years ago, turned Aldi into a global retailer, using a low-cost business model that revolutionized the German market, with his brother Karl.
As the chairman of a family foundation that owns Aldi Nord, Berthold Albrecht sat on the board of the company. Aldi’s share of the 171 billion-euro ($221 billion) German grocery market has stagnated over the past five years, trailing gains by competitors such as Rewe Group. While its U.K. stores have become a thorn in the side of Tesco Plc (TSCO) and its Trader Joe’s chain is mounting a challenge to Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM:US) in the U.S., the no-labels discounter is under pressure at home as affluent Germans shop for better quality.
“This isn’t going to change a lot at Aldi Nord,” Sebastian Frericks, an analyst at Frankfurt-based Bankhaus Metzler, said by telephone. “His brother Theo was closer to managing the business. Berthold had been sick for a while.”
Building on a Ruhr Valley store opened by their mother in 1913, Theo Sr. and Karl guided an expansion that has increased annual retail sales to $67.1 billion at Aldi, making it the world’s 10th biggest retailer, according to Deloitte LLP.
They split the company they founded in 1960 into North and South along the Ruhr River after a feud over carrying cigarettes in Aldi stores.
Theo Sr. died in 2010 and is survived by Karl, who at 92 is the world’s 21st richest person, worth $22.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
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