The billionaire owner of the German supermarket chain Kaufland is a retired businessman called the “ghost” – with only two well-known pictures of him.
Dieter Schwarz, 80, has been CEO of the Lidl and Kaufland chains for more than 40 years after taking over the management of the family business in 1977.
Since then, he has managed to build a successful supermarket chain around the world that made him the 36th richest person in the world with a net worth of $ 19.6 billion.
But despite his wealth and success, it is known that Schwarz leads an extremely private life in Germany to the point that almost nothing is known about him.
Lidl and Kaufland CEO Dieter Schwarz is known for leading an extremely private life in Germany to the point that hardly anything is known about him
Kaufland supermarket chains were expected to launch in Australia and create 2,400 jobs before the company announced its decision to withdraw last month
His reclusive character has given rise to rumors and theories about why he turned to such a life, including claims that he and his family were the targets of terrorist gangs in the 1970s, news.com.au reported.
A 2018 documentary, Die Lidl-Story, offered a glimpse into the man’s secret life and claimed that he was motivated to withdraw from the audience after a group of criminals threatened him and his daughters.
‘He is a mystery, lives out of sight, avoids all publicity. Very little is known about him, and very few people in his immediate surroundings dare to talk to the press, “the documentary said.
In the German media he is called “Das Phantom von Heilbronn”, which translates to the “ghost of Heilbronn” – his hometown.
It is also claimed that he visits churches disguised as a priest to go unnoticed and likes to train with the Swedish pop group ABBA.
Reportedly, there are only two photos of the man – one of which is black and white, according to news.com.au.
The hush-hush attitude of the businessman is also visible in the abrupt withdrawal of Kaufland in Australia earlier this year.
About 200 local employees remained in the dark in January after the company made the shock decision to leave the country before it was launched.
Kaufland said it would undertake an “orderly withdrawal” from Australia to focus on growth in Europe.
Frank Schumann, acting CEO of Kaufland International, apologized to the employees for the “disruption that will cause this decision.”
The Kaufland construction site at Prospect in Adelaide, Wednesday, September 4, 2019
“This was not an easy decision for us. We always felt welcome in Australia, “he said according to Brisbane Times.
‘We see a lot of growth potential in Europe. We will actively shape the consolidation of the European retail sector, further strengthening our leading position. ”
Kaufland was expected to cause price competition between national industry leaders, Coles and Woolworths, who have a monopoly on consumer choice.
The retailer also showed a striking similarity with the German supermarket Aldi with almost 39,000 extra products, which caused the fear that it would destroy the cheap store.
The German supermarket giant was expected to create 2,400 jobs with the launch of nine new stores in Victoria and Queensland this year.
Kaufland was expected to be a cross between a supermarket and stores such as Target and Kmart, which sold groceries as well as hardware such as toys, bicycles, sports items, electronics and household items.
The decision to leave Australia comes after the launch of Kaufland’s $ 255 million distribution center in Mickleham, northern Melbourne, last June.
The 117,000 square meter warehouse is expected to create 600 jobs.
Additional Victorian locations included Dandenong, Epping, Chirnside Park, Braybrook, Lyndhurst, Geelong, South Morang, Bendigo, Narre Warren, Warrnambool, Coburg and Pakenham
Kaufland, the fourth largest holder in the world, was expected to cause price competition between national industry leaders Coles and Woolworths