Johanna Quandt Dies: Billionaire BMW Matriarch Dies At Age 89

Johanna Quandt has died.

Quandt, the billionaire BMW matriarch, died on Monday night while at her home in Bad Homburg near Frankfurt, Germany, a BMW spokesman told Automotive News Europe.

According to Forbes, Johanna was the widow of the BMW founder Herbert Quandt, and the second richest woman, behind her daughter, in Germany.

Herbert, an industrialist who saved BMW, now the world’s largest luxury car maker, from collapse after the Second World War, died in 1982. At the time, Johanna inherited 16.7 percent stake in the car company and served on the supervisory board until she retired in 1997. Combined, her family held a 46.8 percent share of BMW. Johanna first started working for Herbert in the 1950s as a secretary and then as personal assistant. She later fell in love and married him in 1960.

“She followed the development of the company with great interest until the end,” her family said in a statement.

At the time of her death, Johanna still held a 17 percent share of the company, which will be split among her two children, Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten. Stefan currently holds 17.4 percent stake and serves as the BMW deputy chairman, while Susanne holds 12.6 percent. Their shares will now increase to 25.75 percent and 20.95, respectively.

“The stake will remain within the family,” spokesman Joerg Appelhans said.

Quandt had a net worth of $11.5 billion which ranked 98th in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and eighth overall in Germany.

“Johanna Quandt was a force within BMW for over 50 years and brought enthusiasm and passion to the company,” BMW Chief Executive Harald Krüger said in a statement, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In 2009, Johanna, who was active in many charities and whose foundation, which was established in 1995, supports financial journalism, received Germany’s national order of merit. Johanna also provided funding to help children who were diagnosed with cancer, and financed cultural groups that staged art exhibitions.

“Possessing a fortune also means taking social responsibility,” she said while receiving the award.

[Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images]