• 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)

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
Frankfurt court lifts national Uber ban
Uber manager for Germany Fabien Nestmann leaves the Frankfurt court on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Frankfurt court lifts national Uber ban

App-based chauffeur car service Uber is no longer illegal in Germany, a Frankfurt court ruled on Tuesday afternoon. READ  

Chef admits Düsseldorf killing spree
Yanquing in court in Düsseldorf on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Chef admits Düsseldorf killing spree

A gunman who killed three people in Düsseldorf and injured four others in a shooting spree at two lawyers’ offices admitted his guilt on Tuesday. READ  

Man dies six days after chemical blast
The plant was destroyed in the explosion. Photo: DPA

Man dies six days after chemical blast

An engineer who was called to fix a defect at a chemical waste plant which then exploded has died of his injuries – six days after the huge blast near Bremen. READ  

German universities tumble in global rankings
Students at Heidelberg University. Photo: DPA

German universities tumble in global rankings

Three-quarters of German universities have fallen in global standings in the last year, with just one institution among the top 50 in the world, according to rankings released on Tuesday. READ  

Germany prepares to send drones to Ukraine
A Luna drone belonging to the German military. Photo: DPA

Germany prepares to send drones to Ukraine

German unmanned drones could soon be flying over eastern Ukraine to keep an eye on pro-Russian rebel troop movements. READ  

'Why I'm camping for six days outside Apple store'
Photo: The Local

'Why I'm camping for six days outside Apple store'

Most holidaymakers on a week-long camping trip pitch up by lakes or next to the beach. But two Berliners are hoping to break a record by settling in for six days outside the city's Apple Store to be the first to get their hands on new iPhone 6. READ  

Netflix launches in Germany (in English too)
Some of the cast of Orange is the New Black at a photocall in Mexico. Photo: DPA

Netflix launches in Germany (in English too)

UPDATE: TV streaming service Netflix opened its virtual doors in Germany on Tuesday in the face of stiff competition from existing players. Users will be able to watch hit shows and movies in English on the German service. READ  

Auschwitz guard charged over 300,000 deaths
The gates at the former concentration camp of Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

Auschwitz guard charged over 300,000 deaths

A 93-year old man from Lower Saxony will stand trial for 300,000 counts of accessory to murder at the Auschwitz death camp while a member of the Waffen-SS. READ  

Germany can't crack 'CIA double agent' laptop
Photo: DPA

Germany can't crack 'CIA double agent' laptop

An alleged CIA double agent secured his laptop so well that German secret services have failed to crack it since he was arrested in July, according to reports. READ  

Lufthansa pilots abandon Frankfurt strike plans
Ready to go again. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots abandon Frankfurt strike plans

UPDATE: Pilots' union Cockpit has announced that a planned strike at Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday has been called off. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Photo: DPA
Politics
These men want to be the next mayor of Berlin
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Photo: DPA
National
Neo-Nazis are attacking newspaper offices
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Election night in Brandenburg and Thuringia
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Berlin spy station sees tourism boom
Photo: DPA/ESA
Tech
VIDEO: How one German astronaut sees Earth
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Photo: DPA
Politics
Are Germans right to want cooler relations with USA?
Photo: Bayernpartei/DPA
Politics
Why some Bavarians want a Scottish 'Yes'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
12 things to do in Berlin for less than a latte
Photo: Facebook
National
Bavarian waiter breaks beer-carrying record
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

3,281
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd