We Bimmers have a lot to be thankful for to Herbert Quandt without whom our favorite car company would not have existed. He was a remarkable man who lived a remarkable life. However, one person whom not many of us really know and appreciate (mostly because she preferred to stay out of the limelight) is the widow of Herbert Quandt, Johanna Quandt.
Johanna Quant is the billionaire widow of the founder of BMW who recently died at the ripe old age of 89 years. Johanna held the number 2 spot on the list of the richest women in Germany, surpassed only by her daughter Susanne Klatten.
Her connection with BMW began back in the 50s where Johanna first worked for the company as a secretary. She then moved on to become the personal assistant to the founder himself Herbert Quandt. In 1960, they got married and soon after that, their two children were born, Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten.
When Herbet died in 1982, Johanna Quandt ended up inheriting as much as 16.7 percent of the company’s stake which was back then, the largest single holding that BMW had. In terms of figures, Johanna Quandt’s wealth was at a net worth of $11.5 billion. This placed her on the 98th spot in the Bloomber Billionaires Index. It also placed her at the 8th spot in Germany.
Collectively speaking, the family has a total share of 46.6 percent of the company which is a considerable piece of the pie. As for Johanna’s shareholding in BMW, the biggest luxury car maker in the world, it will supposedly remain under the control of the family. This was according to Joerg Appelhans, the spokesperson for the foundation.
BMW Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger said in a statement, “For over 50 years Johanna Quandt has acted for BMW with enthusiasm and passion. She gave the company support and stability.”
Johanna Quandt was certainly not just a figurehead in the company though as she also has a considerable number of achievements that she preferred no one hear about. For one, she established a foundation in 1995 that was meant to support business journalism as well as to fund research in cancer and even to support the arts. It wasn’t until 1997 that Johanna stepped down from the supervisory board of BMW, rarely ever making headlines as she preferred not to speak to the media.