In our article titled “Theo Albrecht 101: Who is the Founder of the Famous Supermarket Chain?” on Zatrun.com, we will delve into everything you need to know in detail about Theo Albrecht, the founder of the renowned supermarket chain that our readers are curious about.
Who is Theo Albrecht?
Theodor Paul Albrecht was a renowned German businessman who, together with his brother Karl Albrecht, founded the Aldi discount supermarket chain. Forbes magazine named Theo as the world’s 31st richest person in 2010, with a net worth of $16.7 billion. Albrecht grew up in a Catholic family and served in the Nazi Germany Armed Forces during the North Africa campaign as a member of the military after being conscripted at the age of 18. After being captured by Americans in Tunisia, he returned to Germany in 1946. The 1971 kidnapping of Albrecht shed light on the family’s reclusive lifestyle.
As a result of the kidnapping, Albrecht began to travel to work in an armored vehicle, taking a different route every day. Despite being described as “more hermit-like than ye”, very little is known about the personal lives of Albrecht family members, including Theo. Photographers rarely caught sight of him, and his last published photograph was taken the day after his kidnapping in 1971. Another photo of the two brothers was taken by journalist Franz Ruch in 1987. Albrecht and his brother Karl were known as the owners of an island in the North Sea, where they enjoyed activities such as golf and collecting antique typewriters.
Like other members of the Albrecht family, Theo lived in a relatively secure mansion overlooking the Ruhr Valley. He was known for his frugality, often collecting and using lead pencil tips. He also preferred simple meals with lots of potatoes and was known for wearing ill-fitting, low-cost suits. While reviewing plans for a new store in the Netherlands, he praised the design but criticized the thick paper it was printed on, suggesting that thinner paper be used to save money. Theo Albrecht passed away on July 24, 2010, in his hometown of Essen.
Navigating the Tapestry of Career Life
To avoid the same fate as his father who worked in mines, Albrecht learned the grocery business from his mother. Along with his brother Karl, he founded Albrecht Diskont which is now known as Aldi, one of Europe’s largest supermarket chains. Their slogan was “best quality at the lowest price.” According to Forbes, it is estimated that Theo’s fortune from the supermarket chain is around £11 billion.
However, a dispute over cigarette sales led to the brothers splitting the company they founded in 1960. The supermarket was then divided into two separate entities that legally operate in different geographical locations, Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd, with Theo’s Aldi Nord operating in the north of Germany, and Karl’s Aldi Süd operating in the south. In 1993, Theo retired from daily operations but remained as chairman of the board.