Last Updated: June 4, 2024
Richest BusinessRichest Billionaires
Net Worth:
$20 Billion
Mar 28, 1922 - Jul 24, 2010 (88 years old)
Entrepreneur, Businessperson
💰 Compare Theo Albrecht's Net Worth

What is Theo Albrecht's Net Worth?

Theo Albrecht was a German entrepreneur who had a net worth of $20 billion at the time of his death. Theo Albrecht co-founded the discount supermarket chain Aldi with his brother Karl Albrecht. The chain has over 12,500 locations throughout Europe, the United States, China, and Australia. Among the other notable events in his life, Albrecht was kidnapped and held for ransom in 1971, which led to him and his family becoming more reclusive. Theo and Karl were the richest people in Germany during their lives.

Early Life

Theo Albrecht was born on March 28, 1922 in Essen, Rhine Province in the Weimar Republic's Free State of Prussia. He had an older brother named Karl. Albrecht's father Karl Sr. worked in the mines, while his mother Anna ran a grocery store. Not wanting to end up in the mines like his father, Albrecht learned the grocery business from his mother. When he was 18, he was conscripted into the German Army and fought in the North African campaign during World War II. In the war, Albrecht was captured by Americans in Tunisia.

Theo Albrecht Net Worth

(Photo by Roland Scheidemann/picture alliance via Getty Images)


In 1945, Theo and Karl Albrecht took over their mother's grocery business in Essen. They soon opened another retail outlet nearby. By 1950, the Albrecht brothers owned 13 stores in the Ruhr. Focused on cutting costs, their business strategy involved subtracting the legal maximum rebate of 3% before sale, removing all merchandise from the shelves that didn't sell, and not selling fresh produce. By 1960, they had around 300 stores in Germany. That year, the Albrecht brothers' business split into two separate groups, with one headquartered in Essen and the other in Mülheim. In 1962, the Albrecht brothers introduced the business name Aldi, an abbreviation of Albrecht Diskont. Aldi began to expand internationally later in the decade, and in the 1970s it opened its first store in the United States. Additionally, Aldi acquired the grocery chain Trader Joe's. Following the reunification of Germany, the company expanded more rapidly. The Albrecht brothers retired as the CEOs of Aldi in 1993.


In 1971, Albrecht was kidnapped and held for ransom at gunpoint by lawyer Heinz-Joachim Ollenburg and his accomplice Paul Kron. A ransom of seven million German marks was ultimately paid; it was delivered by Bishop of Essen Franz Hengsbach. Although the kidnappers were eventually caught, only half of the ransom money was recovered. Later, Albrecht unsuccessfully claimed the ransom as a tax deductible business expense in court.

Personal Life and Death

Members of the Albrecht family were known to lead very private and reclusive lives, especially following Theo's kidnapping in 1971. After his kidnapping, he always drove to work in an armored car, and took a different route every day. Theo Albrecht seldom appeared in photographs and never gave a public statement. Reportedly, he collected and used pencil stubs, and wore cheap, ill-fitting suits. Albrecht was married to Cäcilie, with whom he had two sons named Theo Jr. and Berthold.

On July 24, 2010, Albrecht passed away in his hometown of Essen. He was 88 years of age.

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