What You Didn’t Know About Germany’s Wealthiest Siblings
Meet the siblings who happen to be the wealthiest people in Germany as of June 2019. Born to Herbert and Johanna Quandt, Susanne Klatten and her brother, Stefan Quandt, have an estimated combined wealth amounting to a staggering 34 billion euros! This pair of siblings came to such wealth through inheritance, and they are shareholders of 29.9% of the car mega-company, BMW, after their father saved it from bankruptcy in 1959. They are among the company’s major shareholders and their wealth is still on the rise.
Apparently, being billionaires isn’t all a walk in the park for these two, as voiced by Klatten when she and her brother were interviewed by Manager Magazine. Klatten brought it to light that the role she and Quandt play, as guardians of the BMW wealth, is not as easy as people may think it is. The siblings reveal that they are more concerned about the responsibilities they have in keeping the jobs in Germany secure, and the wealth isn’t what drives them.
Both Klatten and Quandt have seats on the supervisory board of the company, and while they are comfortable with their roles and the duties that come with them, it was not always so. Both siblings took on their high-profile positions when they were rather young, and they do wish that they had had the chance to do something ‘normal’, with less responsibility, for some time before being thrown in the deep end, so to speak.
Quandt was just 30 years old when he took the board seat, and there are many things he would have rather have done before being given the duties. Quandt also highlights that he also felt much self-doubt at first, and he never felt that he simply knew what to do. Despite that, it was his job to go out and show everyone how it’s done. He constantly questioned things and questioned himself and his actions and possibly even his capabilities. Stefan Quandt now serves as the deputy chairman of BMW’s supervisory board. It is rumored that he may even eventually take the role of head of the board. Along with shares in BMW, Stefan inherited shares in many other companies, like Logwin AG, CEAG, and Heel GmbH.
Quandt may not be as well known as his sister, Susanne Klatten who managed to become notorious for what happened to her in 1978 – a scheme was devised that involved kidnapping Klatten and Johanna, their mother. Fortunately, the plot was foiled by the police before it was carried out. Klatten is an educated woman, having earned an MBA in advertising and a business finance degree as well as completing a marketing/management course. Sometimes, her wealth poses a problem in her daily life. Thus, she frequently took the name, Susanne Kant, when working. Also, after her father’s death, Susanne inherited a 50.1% stake in Altana, which sits in Germany’s list of top 30 companies. She also owns stakes in SGL.
The Quandts are known for being silent – they turn down interviews and have done so for decades long. This may be out of fear of their family’s past being brought to light once again and them not being able to control the outcome. The family has many things it would rather remain silent about – like a Nazi past.
The documentary titled The Silence of the Quandts was put together over five years by ARD, a German national TV channel, and tells the story of the history of slave labor during World War II. Gunther Quandt was a German industrialist who owned the battery plant that was featured in the documentary, where men were handling toxic heavy metals sans protective gear. The controversial documentary first aired in 2007.
Though the findings weren’t new as they were documented in the studies of the Third Reich and the Holocaust, the members of the Quandt family were distraught over the consequences the documentary had on their family reputation. A historian was funded by the Quandt family to conduct a research project on their Nazi past and a 1,200-page study resulted from the project and was released in 2011. It was best said by Sven Quandt, though, in the documentary, that this part of the family’s history must be forgotten, as all families do have their dark sides. It sure is hard for them to shake off, though! Despite this past, this duo continues to accentuate their wealth and make the most out of their inheritance.
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