New billionaires in sight: These are the Thiele heirs

Heinz Hermann Thiele celebrates the IPO of Knorr-Bremse in 2018 with his wife Nadia Thiele (left) and his daughter Julia Thiele-Schürhoff (right).

Heinz Hermann Thiele celebrates the IPO of Knorr-Bremse in 2018 with his wife Nadia Thiele (left) and his daughter Julia Thiele-Schürhoff (right).

Deutsche Börse Group

With an estimated fortune of 11 billion euros, Forbes listed Heinz Hermann Thiele in eighth place among the richest Germans in 2020. The wealth comes primarily from his stake in Knorr-Bremse AG, the company he built into a global corporation. His widow and two children should now look forward to a solid fortune.

Thiele’s stakes in three large companies make up the majority of the wealth that he has quintupled in the past ten years. The decisive factor was Knorr-Bremse’s IPO, after which share prices rose by 30 percent. He and his daughter Julia Thiele-Schürhoff own over 50 percent of Knorr-Bremse AG, shares that are worth over 9 billion euros. The dividends alone brought in over 150 million euros in 2019.

In summer 2020, Thiele sold eight million Knorr-Bremse shares and in return increased his stake in Lufthansa. The investment will probably only pay off for his heirs if the aviation industry is making profits again after the pandemic. Thiele’s Lufthansa shares of 12.24 percent are currently worth 760 million euros.

In addition, Thiele has gradually bought shares in Vossloh AG, a German world market leader in the field of rail infrastructure, in recent years. The Thieles family holding company became the majority shareholder in the company, the shares are worth almost 400 million euros.

The company holdings are held by Stella Vermögensverwaltung mbH, whose sole shareholder since Thiele’s death is now his 50-year-old daughter, Julia Thiele-Schürhoff. This means she is currently the richest woman in Germany after Aldi heiress Beate Heister and BMW heiress Susanne Klatten. Julia Thiele-Schürhoff has close ties to his father’s company, works as a member of the supervisory board and founded Knorr-Bremse Global Care eV, the Group’s CSR arm.

Heinz Hermann Thiele’s widow, Nadia Thiele, has also been on the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse Global Care since 2013. Nadia Thiele is the billionaire’s second wife and brought a son into the marriage. Her name does not appear in the companies controlled by Thiele, but as a wife she is theoretically entitled to shares in the inheritance.

If the assets are shared among the family members, there could soon be more new billionaires from the Thiele family.

The patriarch’s son, Henrik Thiele, left the Knorr-Bremse Executive Board in 2015 and two years later from the Stella family holding company. Henrik Thiele seemed to have distanced himself from his father’s empire, but not from the automotive industry: with his company Qwello, he is developing charging stations for electric vehicles. Henrik Thiele had, according to a report in “Wirtschaftswoche”, his shares from the family holding company were paid out. It is unclear whether he is entitled to further shares of the assets as heir to the billionaire.


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