|Capital:||€ 1.2 billion|
|Country of origin:||Germany|
|Source of wealth:||Entrepreneurs|
The entrepreneur Reinhold Würth initially built up his huge fortune with a screw trading company. After intensive expansion, it became the international market leader for assembly technology. He also appears as an art sponsor and lover and is an honorary professor for entrepreneurship.
Born in Baden-Württemberg in 1935, his parents founded a wholesale business for screws right after the war. Initially without employees, Reinhold Würth was withdrawn from school at the age of 14 and became the first trainee and employee in the parental company. This was based in Künzelsau. The father died before he came of age, so Reinhold Würth had to wait two years before he turned 21 before he could take over the management of the company. From then on he led the Würth company from a regional player to a global company.
Reinhold Würth achieved this by expanding more and more and expanding the range of his company “Würth”. It was quite early on to simply buy up the screw manufacturers as soon as the flourishing company gave him the means to do so.
When he finally started to expand his trade abroad, the path to a global company had started. The Würth Group is now active in over 80 countries, with over 400 different companies. It generates annual sales of over 10 billion euros, more than half of which is generated abroad. Initially only selling screws, the Würth Group’s field of activity is now very broad, but continues to focus on fastening technology.
Reinhold Würth has not been part of the operational management since 1994. From 1999 to 2003 he was head of the Institute for Entrepreneurship at the University of Karlsruhe.
If the assessment of his wealth was correct, he was the eleventh richest German a few years ago and the hundredth and richest person worldwide. He has now contributed his assets to the Würth Foundation. The company should continue to do so even after his death.
Since retiring from the operational management, he has appeared primarily as an art sponsor. On the one hand, he himself has an extensive collection called the Würth Collection. On the other hand, it promotes the arts themselves and the opportunities for ordinary people to get in touch with them.
In 2003, for example, he bought the Fürstlich Fürstenbergische Sammlung when it was in danger of being dissolved. In 2011, he paid 50 million euros for the painting “Darmstadt Madonna” from the early Renaissance. Like many other parts of the Würth Collection, this is exhibited in the Johanniterkirche in Schwäbisch Hall.
Reinhold Würth has been married to his wife Carmen since 1956. With her he has three children. He has been living in Hermersberg Castle with his wife since 1974. His disabled son was kidnapped in 2015 and later released unharmed. The kidnapper (s) have not yet been caught.
Reinhold Würth belongs to the New Apostolic Church. In 2008, he faced allegations of tax evasion. However, this was about internal clearing procedures within his companies, not his private income. Würth approved a penalty order of 700 daily rates, which means that he is a criminal record. This is one of the reasons why he applied for Austrian citizenship in 2010, which he also received.
It is possible that among the many awards that Reinhold Würth received, the Federal Cross of Merit awarded in 1985, which he counts among his highlights. Or it is an extension of that from 1996 when he received the 1st Class Federal Cross of Merit. There are also numerous honorary doctorates and honorary citizenships, including the University of Palermo and the University of Louisville. Reinhold Würth is also Knight of the Legion of Honor.
In general, however, it should be the fact that the small family business has turned into a billion dollar global company.
“Every company is a sociological structure and, like the living organism, is subject to becoming, being and passing away. I conclude that as long as a company is still developing, we cannot go away. That is why growth is so important. Standing still is a step backwards and the first step to the grave. But nobody will be buried alive – and since our 75-year-old company is so fresh, vital and full of entrepreneurship, it will still have a bright future ahead of it. ”
“I’ve already had two working lives.”
“The company is my hobby, my electric train.”
Reinhold Würth warns impressively and publicly of a rightward shift of society in the Federal Republic of Germany. In particular, he named large parts of the AfD as a danger to society.
He is convinced that he can convince his employees with art. He was the first company in the world to install an art gallery in an administrative building of his company.
In 1987 Reinhold Würth founded a foundation that also awards prestigious art prizes.
The women’s World Cup tournament in epee fencing, which takes place annually in Tauberbischofsheim, has been named after him since 1987.