Dieter Schwarz was born on 24 September 1939, in Heilbronn Germany, and is best known as a German entrepreneur, owner of the Schwarz-Gruppe, and is ranked by Forbes magazine in 2015 as the 46th richest person in the world, and 2nd richest individual in Germany.
Just how rich is Dieter Schwarz? Forbes estimates that Dieter’s current net worth is almost $20 billion, the majority of his wealth having been accumulated from his interests in the supermarket chain Lidl and the hypermarket chain Kaufland.
Dieter Schwarz Net Worth $20 Billion
Dieter Schwarz’ career is totally connected to the Schwarz Group, founded by his father Josef Schwarz in 1930, who got his start in retail in the 1930s, when he and a partner created what became grocer Lidl & Schwarz KG, although their store was apparently destroyed in World War II. Schwarz’s partner left the company in 1951, and Dieter Schwarz joined the family business after finishing high school, and struck out on his own more than two decades later, opening the first Lidl discount store in Ludwigshafen, Germany, in 1973.
After the death of his father in 1977, Dieter took over control of the Schwarz & Lidl discount chain, and soon afterwards bought the naming rights from the co-owner Ludwig Lidl, actually for little more than $500. He opened the first Kaufland hypermarket — similar to a Wal-Mart store in the US in size and prices — in Neckarsulm in 1984, and in 1988 the first Lidl stores outside Germany.
Dieter Schwarz’s fortune has benefited in recent years from a resurgence in discount retail sales in Europe. Schwarz Group is comprised of the Lidl and Kaufland store chains; the former is Germany’s second-biggest discounter behind Aldi. As of 2015, there are more than 9,800 Lidl supermarkets and 1,070 Kaufland discount stores in 26 European countries. The whole operation generated more than $90 billion in sales in 2014, making it the largest closely held food retailer in Europe.
Schwarz regularly appeared on Forbes’ annual billionaires ranking in the 1990s but was taken off the list in 1999, informing Forbes that he had transferred his ownership of Lidl to a charitable foundation, as profits are utilised to support philanthropic projects. Schwarz returned to the list in 2013, as he still maintains full control over his shares and can sell them at any time.
In his personal life, Dieter Schwarz is a very private person, who avoids any publicity not concerned with business, Schwarz has been married to his wife Franziska for over 50 years and has two daughters.
As with many billionaires, Dieter Schwarz is a generous philanthropist. The Dieter Schwarz Foundation supports education and day-care facilities for children, as well as science and research projects. In 2011, the Bildungscampus der Dieter Schwarz Stiftung opened in Heilbronn; the university campus, funded by the foundation, houses a graduate school of management and law as well as other higher education courses.