Friday, December 7, 2012

Berthold Albrecht, Trader Joe's heir, dead at 58

Just two years after the long time owner of Trader Joe's, Theo Albrecht Sr. died, his son and heir Berthold Albrecht has also kicked the bucket. Bertie was a comparatively young 58.

In the obsessively private spirit of Berthold's dad, his family placed a full-page death notice in the Handelsblatt (Germany) newspaper, but neglected to mention either the date, place, or cause of death. The wording of the notice, describing him as "a fighter to the end" suggests that Berthold had been sick for a while.

Two years ago, Berthold inherited half of Trader Joe's, along with the far larger Aldi Nord holdings in Europe when his father died. He was the chairman of the Berthold family trust that controlled Aldi Nord and its Trader Joe's subsidiary here in the U.S. He did not, however, play an active role in the companies' management. His older brother Theo Jr. continues to do so, and retail industry watchers in Germany feel that Bertie's death will have little immediate impact.

Theo Sr.'s death can have no impact at all on Aldi stores here in the U.S., as they are owned by Aldi Sud, the half of the Aldi empire that is still controlled by Theo Sr.'s 92 year-old brother Karl.

According to the Bloomberg 'Billionaires Index' -- yes, there are enough billionaires, it seems, to warrant a sort of Field Guide -- Bertie's fortune was estimated at $10.7 billion. There's no word on how much of that was contributed by sales of Two Buck Chuck.

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