German Billionaire Suicide: Otto Beisheim Suffered From Incurable Disease

A German billionaire’s suicide might leave some wondering why.

The German billionaire Otto Beisheim was the 344th richest person in the world and the 22nd wealthiest person in Germany. Beisheim made his $3.3 billion net worth as a co-founder of the largest German retail group, Metro AG. According to The Examiner, “Beisheim opened the first Metro Market in November 1963 in Essen-Altenessen. Six years later, his group had reached the billion sales mark.” He exported the concept first in Europe, then worldwide, establishing the “Cash and Carry”, “Media Markt,” and “Real” chains in countries from China to France.

The billionaire apparently suffered from an incurable disease. He apparently committed suicide shortly after learning from doctors about his terminal illness. A statement from the Otto Beisheim group explains the motivation for the German billionaire’s suicide:

“Otto Beisheim was a pioneer and a legend in the German and international retail world … with innovation, courage and ambition, he founded one of the world’s leading retail firms. He was suffering from an incurable disease and departed this life due to the hopelessness of his health situation.”

MSN Money explains how Beisheim’s assets will be handled:

“A spokeswoman for the Beisheim Group said there were no plans to sell the billionaire’s near-10 percent stake in Metro. He was the third-largest shareholder behind the Haniel and Schmidt-Ruthenbeck families, which together own 45.78 percent.”

According to, Beisheim’s wife of 50 years, Inge Beisheim, died in 1999. Since the couple had no children, Beisheim’s assets will be divided between two foundations to foster cultural and business projects. Beisheim had distinguished himself as a patron. Through his charitable foundation, he supported schools and set up sports clubs and play areas for children.