Biography Philanthropists

Karl Albrecht


Karl Albrecht
Born Karl Hans Albrecht
20 February 1920
EssenRhine ProvinceWeimar Republic
Died 16 July 2014 (aged 94)
Essen, Germany
Occupation Entrepreneur
Known for Co-founder of Aldi
Net worth IncreaseUS$29 billion (2014)[1]
Spouse(s) Mia Tenbrink (*1923; †2013)
Children Karl Albrecht Jr.
Beate Heister
Relatives Theo Albrecht (brother)
Theo Albrecht Jr. (nephew)
Berthold Albrecht (nephew)

Karl Hans Albrecht (German: [ˈalbʁɛçt]; 20 February 1920 – 16 July 2014) was a German entrepreneur who founded the discount supermarket chain Aldi with his brother Theo. He was for many years the richest person in Germany. As of February 2014, he was ranked as 21st-richest person in the world by Hurun Report.[1]


First Aldi store in Schonnebeck, Essen

Karl and Theo Albrecht were born and raised in a Catholic[2] family in modest circumstances in Essen, Germany. Their father, Karl Sr, was employed as a miner and later as a baker’s assistant.[3] Their mother Anna, née Siepmann, had a small grocery store in the worker’s quarter of Schonnebeck (de), a suburb of Essen. Theo completed an apprenticeship in his mother’s store, while Karl worked in a delicatessen shop. Karl served in the Wehrmacht during World War II and was wounded on the Eastern Front. After the war, the brothers jointly took over their mother’s business and founded Albrecht KG.[4] They separated that company in 1961 into Aldi Nord, covering the part of Germany north of the Ruhr under Theo Albrecht, and Aldi Süd under Karl. The first Aldi (short for Albrecht Discount) was opened in 1962.[5]

Aldi around the world, (blue = Aldi north, orange = Aldi south)

In 1994, Karl Albrecht removed himself from the daily operations of Aldi Süd and took the position of chairman of the board until 2002. At the beginning of 2002, he also relinquished this position, thereby completely ceding control of the firm. Today, the business is no longer run by any of Karl Albrecht’s family members.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Karl Albrecht was a very reclusive man who had not taken part in public life for several years prior to his death. As a result, little is known about him. Forbes magazine reported that he had two children, neither of whom was employed by Aldi. He reportedly lived in Essen, as did his brother Theo until the latter’s death. Golf was one of his hobbies, and Albrecht played the sport on his own golf course, the Öschberghof, which he built in 1976. He also raised orchids.[4]


In 2014, Albrecht was listed as one of the richest people in the world with an estimated net worth of US$23.14 billion.[7] Previously, Forbes magazine listed him as one of the richest men in the world, with an estimated net worth in 2011 of US$25.4 billion, which ranked him 10th in its 2012 list of billionaires – making him the oldest billionaire in the Top 20 list.[4] Albrecht was the richest person in Germany, and the fourth-richest in Europe.[8]


  1. Jump up to:a b “Hurun Report Global Rich List”. Hurun Report. Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August2016.
  2. Jump up^ “BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) – Frugal to a fault, discounter Aldi expands in the U.S.” Archived 12 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine. by Thomas Schuler, The Atlantic Times, March 2009
  3. Jump up^ Paterson, Tony (22 July 2014). “The story of Karl Albrecht, the man who destroyed Tesco”Independent. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  4. Jump up to:a b c “The World’s Billionaires (2012): No. 10 Karl Albrecht”Forbes. 3 March 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  5. Jump up^ Diekmann, Florian (21 July 2014). “Nachruf auf den Gründer von Aldi und Discount-erfinder”Der Spiegel (obituary) (in German)
  6. Jump up^ “ALDi Brüderlich vereint” by Mario Brück, Wirtschaftswoche, 29 April 2003
  7. Jump up^ Karl AlbrechtLSA Conso, 22 July 2014.
  8. Jump up^ “The World’s Billionaires (2010): 1–24”Forbes. 3 March 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2011.