The married couple Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci have made a meteoric rise this year. With the development of the corona vaccine, the two Biontech founders made it onto the world stage and became billionaires. The spotlight that is now directed at the two doctors and their work is huge. Little personal information is known about the couple so far.
In a long interview with “Spiegel”, Türeci and Sahin have now given personal insights: what role all that money has for them, how much they work, whether they can leave the business at home, whether they are actually on vacation in all the stress – and what significance their Turkish roots have for them.
The couple gives a detailed answer to the latter question. “We employ people from more than 60 countries in our company. A migration background is completely normal for us, it doesn’t matter at all, ”says Biontech boss Sahin. “On the other hand, I understand that our success is inspiring, especially for Turks. In this respect we have a certain responsibility to deal with it sensibly and to betray a little more about ourselves to people than we would normally ”.
Özlem Türeci once called herself a “Prussian Turkish woman”. “Identification is nothing negative, only the politicization of identity is harmful. We absolutely want to avoid that, ”she says.
The couple appreciate being down-to-earth
The couple is now one of the richest people in Germany. They made it relatively high on the “Manager Magazin” rich list. “I find such lists superfluous, especially since it is only a book value at first,” says Biontech boss Sahin. “I also don’t get anxious when the stock market value drops by several hundred million”.
They also appreciate the down-to-earth attitude that they show in view of their own wealth in their current home city of Mainz. “We like Mainz very much, this down-to-earth attitude, not so much excitement,” says Türeci. The couple lives with their daughter in an inconspicuous apartment between the university and the company, reports “Spiegel”.
Once Sahin and Türeci sit at the dinner table in their apartment, their work is always there too. With the workload that the two of them have to work through, that is not unusual either – and perfectly fine because both are passionate about their work, the couple agree.
Nevertheless, the two of them don’t forego vacation. Despite all the work, despite the many expectations. “We’re fine,” says Sahin.