Berthold Albrecht, a third-generation family member of the Aldi supermarket empire, has died. He passed away last month at the age of 58, but the fiercely private Albrecht family delayed making the announcement until 7 December.
Albrecht became one of Europe’s richest men after he and his brother, Theo Albrecht Jr, inherited the family business following their father Theo Sr's death in 2010. Forbes estimates the brothers’ fortune at €13.8 billion, which places them 32nd on its list of billionaires globally.
Theo Sr and his brother Karl turned their mother’s small discount grocery shop into one of the most recognisable brands in the industry. Aldi, a derivative of “Albrecht Discount”, was divided after a dispute between the brothers over the sale of cigarettes. It became two distinct companies, Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud – which operate in different regional and international markets.
Albrecht and Theo Jr were heirs to Aldi Nord, and Albrecht is credited with engineering the company’s entry into the US market through the acquisition of supermarket chain Trader Joe’s. The family increasingly relies on outside management for Aldi, and has not been involved in the day-to-day running of the company since 1993.
The Albrechts have always valued their privacy, becoming even more guarded after Theo Sr was kidnapped and held to ransom in 1971.
Albrecht leaves behind his wife and five children, including quadruplets.