• Germany edition
 
German of the Week
'A pioneer and legend in the German retail world'
Otto Beisheim with a picture of his late wife at the Beisheim Centre. Photo: DPA

'A pioneer and legend in the German retail world'

Published: 18 Feb 2013 17:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Feb 2013 17:15 GMT+01:00

Beisheim was one of the country's wealthiest people, owning at his death on Monday, ten percent of the group he founded.

Yet his fortune could not save him from illness and he committed suicide at his home near Frankfurt, a spokesman for the Otto-Beisheim Group confirmed.

"He was suffering from an incurable disease and departed this life due to the hopelessness of his health situation," she said.

Born in 1924, he served as a private in a Waffen-SS division during World War II, and then trained to work in the leather industry, but then moved into retail. Working with partners the Haniel and Schmidt-Ruthenbeck families, he brought the concept of cash-and-carry wholesaling to Germany.

The idea was quickly spread after he set up his first such shop in Mülheim an der Ruhr in western Germany in 1964.

He exported the idea first in Europe, then worldwide, establishing the "Cash and Carry," "Media Markt" and "Real" chains in countries from China to France.

"Otto Beisheim was a pioneer and a legend in the German and international retail world ... with innovation, courage and ambition, he founded one of the world's leading retail firms," Metro said in a statement.

He also established the Beisheim Centre in the centre of Berlin which includes the Ritz Carlton and Marriott hotels near Potsdamer Platz at a cost of more than €450 million - which he named after his late wife Inge. The couple did not have children.

Through his charitable foundation, he supported schools and set up sports clubs and play areas for children.

He moved to Switzerland, becoming a Swiss citizen in 1988 and has left his entire fortune to be split between youth and sport foundations in Germany and Switzerland.

The Local/DAPD/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

14:00 February 21, 2013 by sonriete
I have seen this photo before, the gentleman in color right in front of his wife in her best years right behind him. So he has chosen to name his important buildings in Berlin in her honor. Now that he has died at 89 years he chose to leave every cent of his multi billion fortune to German and Swiss young people for their benefit. All I have to say is wow, we should all be as good as him.
17:43 February 21, 2013 by raandy
He was a righteous person.
Today's headlines
Visa chaos hits Bayern Munich's USA tour
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Photo: DPA

Visa chaos hits Bayern Munich's USA tour

Bayern Munich boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is among the club's staff and players who could not join a week-long tour to the USA on Wednesday because of visa problems. READ  

Dead TV star replies to SPD party invite
German actress Renater Küster with a statue of her late husband Dieter Hildebrandt. Photo: DPA

Dead TV star replies to SPD party invite

The Social Democrats (SPD) invited a dead TV star to attend its summer party. It got a shock when the veteran presenter replied saying, "I can't make it". READ  

Father killed in 'Cold Water Challenge'
The digger tipped over. Photo: DPA

Father killed in 'Cold Water Challenge'

A father died and five of his friends were injured on Tuesday night in western Germany when a digger fell on top of them during a so-called Cold Water Challenge. READ  

Huge Bavarian crop circle puzzles crowds
Raisting crop circle. Photo: DPA

Huge Bavarian crop circle puzzles crowds

A mysterious crop circle in Bavaria has attracted thousands of visitors since it was spotted in a wheat field last week. READ  

German siblings killed by drunk driver in Austria
Photo: DPA

German siblings killed by drunk driver in Austria

A ten-year-old girl and her 21-year-old brother were killed overnight in a road accident on the A1 motorway in Upper Austria, caused by a drunk driver who was driving on the wrong side of the road. READ  

Merkel: Russia sanctions were 'inevitable'
Merkel warned further sanctions could be imposed against Russia. Photo: DPA

Merkel: Russia sanctions were 'inevitable'

Strong sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis were “inevitable”, Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed on Tuesday night, despite Germany's initial reluctance to get tough on President Vladimir Putin. READ  

Boy's body found in Ramstein plane
A C-130J at Ramstein air base. Photo: DPA

Boy's body found in Ramstein plane

The body of an adolescent boy was found in a wheel well of a US military cargo plane after the aircraft landed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany over the weekend, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. READ  

Have Your Say
Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA

Should Germany legalize cannabis?

A New York Times editorial on Sunday called for the US to drop its ban on marijuana, calling the strongly-worded law a "laughing stock". Should Germany follow the US states of Colorado and Washington and legalize recreational use of the drug? READ  

Cows kill German dog walker in Austria
File Photo: DPA

Cows kill German dog walker in Austria

A 45-year-old German woman died when she was attacked by a herd of 20 cows and calves on Monday afternoon on an Alpine pasture in Tyrol's Stubaital valley. READ  

Knut goes on display in Berlin museum
Knut's new home in Berlin's Natural History Museum. Photo: DPA

Knut goes on display in Berlin museum

Germany’s favourite polar bear Knut is set to pull in the crowds again - but this time from a display case. More than three years after his death, his real fur has been used to create a new Knut for a museum exhibition. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Analysis & Opinion
Have Your Say: Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA
Education
Germany's students fail to graduate in time
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Hamburg harbour lit up in blue
Business & Money
JobTalk: 'Application process is failing'
Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825
Culture
Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
instagram.com/gotzemario
Gallery
Germany's World Cup stars share their holiday photos
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,254
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd