Karl Hans Albrecht (20 February 1920 – 16 July 2014) was a German entrepreneur who founded the discount supermarket chain Aldi with his brother Theo. As of October 2012, Albrecht is listed as one of the richest people in the world with an estimated net worth of US$22.6 billion. Previously, Forbes listed him as one of richest men in the world, with an estimated net worth in 2011 of US$25.4 billion, which ranks him 10th in its 2012 list of billionaires – making him the oldest billionaire in the Top 20 list. Albrecht is the second richest person in Germany, and the fourth-richest in Europe.
Karl and Theo Albrecht were born and raised in modest circumstances in Essen, Germany. Their father was employed as a miner and later as a baker’s assistant. Their mother had a small grocery store in the worker’s quarter of Schonnebeck, 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 took over their mother's business. The first Aldi (Albrecht-Discount) was opened in 1962.
In 1961, Aldi's operations were divided between the brothers, with Karl taking control of Aldi Süd (South), and Theo managing Aldi Nord (North).
In 1994, Karl Albrecht removed himself from the daily operations of Aldi Süd and took the position of chairman of the board. 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.
Little is known about Karl Albrecht, a very reclusive man who had not taken part in public life for several years. Forbes magazine reported that he has two children, neither of whom is employed by Aldi. He reportedly lived in Essen, as did his brother Theo until the latter's death. He was a fan of golf, and played at his personal golf course, the Öschberghof, which he built in 1976. He also raised orchids.
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