Beate Heister and Karl Albrecht Jr. are the children of Karl Albrecht Sr., who died in July 2014 at age 94. After World War II, he and his brother Theo Albrecht, who died in 2010 at the age of 88, took over their family's corner grocery store in Essen, Germany and propagated the discount revolution in German retailing -- building their Aldi supermarket chain based on a no-frills, low-price strategy similar to Wal-Mart. In 1961, the brothers split ownership: Karl Sr. took the stores in southern Germany, plus the rights to the Aldi brand in the U.K., Australia and the U.S., while Theo Sr. got the stores in northern Germany and the rest of Europe. (In 1971, Theo Sr. bought U.S. grocery chain Trader Joe's.) Karl Sr. resigned from the operational business of Aldi Sued in 1994, and stepped down from its advisory board in 2002. His wife, "Mia" (Maria) Albrecht, died in 2013 at age 89. The highly secretive company had estimated sales of around $53 billion in 2013. Its capital mostly resides in a family foundation, the Siepmann Stiftung (formed in 1973 using the maiden name of Karl and Theo's mother).
Beate Heister has never worked at Aldi Sued but sits, together with her husband Peter and her son Peter Max Heister (one of six children), on its advisory board.
Karl Jr., who has no children, has worked in different positions at the company but withdrew from professional duties to contend with diagnoses of cancer (which he has overcome).
The Siepmann Foundation is believed to own at least 75% of Aldi Sued, with the rest owned by charitable foundations that support cardiovascular system research as well as cultural and other projects. Beate's husband and children, along with Karl Jr.'s wife, Gabriele Mertes, are all believed to share in the fortune.more » « less