The recent death of Petr Kellner, the richest person in the Czech Republic, has set off the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of that country. Kellner was the wealthiest person in the Czech Republic at the time of his death. He and four other people died in a helicopter crash in the remote Alaskan back-country while they were on a heli-skiing expedition last month. The helicopter crashed about 50 miles northeast of Anchorage and slid 800 to 900 feet down the mountain. Kellner was a guest of a luxury heli-skiing resort at the time of his tragic death.
Much of his $19 billion net worth will pass to his wife and four children. However, succession arrangements for his PPF Group NV, which has $52 billion in assets are unclear. One thing that is known is that his wife and kids didn't have important roles in the day-to-day operations of his company.
Kellner was born in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1964. He studied economics and sold Ricoh photocopiers in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. The newly capitalist country began handing out vouchers that could be exchangeable for shares in companies. Kellner jumped on this opportunity.
In 1991 he formed a firm that would go on to acquire stakes in more than 200 companies. That firm evolved into today's PPF. PPF has interests in finance, telecommunications, biotech, media, and manufacturing. PPF's Home Credit division, founded in 1997, is one of central and eastern Europe's largest consumer lenders and operates in a number of countries including India, Indonesia, and China.
At stake with his death is PPF's deal to take over Prague's Moneta Money Bank as well as a potential sale of the minority stake PPF holds in Cetin Group BV telecommunication infrastructure company.
Katerina Jiraskova, PPF's CFO, expects the Moneta merger to move forward, according to an interview with the Czech newspaper Hospodarske Noviny.
Kellner and his wife Renata co-founded the Kellner Family Foundation. The foundation donates to education, health, and cultural causes. It's presumable that this foundation will receive a chunk on money from his estate.
Kellner was a very family-focused man. The family own a Gulfstream G500 private jet and an island resort in the British Virgin Islands.