Johanna Quandt, heiress of BMW family, dies at 89 image

Johanna Quandt was the billionaire widow of the man that established Germany’s BMW AG as the biggest luxury automaker in the world, has passed away at age 89.

She died at the beginning of the week at home in Bad Homburg, Germany, according to a statement from the Johanna Quandt Foundation without citing any cause for the passing. She was the third wife and once secretary of Herbert Quandt, thus inheriting the mogul’s 16.7 percent holding in Munich-based BMW, which made her the biggest single investor in the company. Her husband had passed away in 1982. According to foundation spokesman Joerg Appelhans, the stake in the carmaker will be kept in the family. She also owned shares of Datacard Group, a closely held Minnetonka, Minnesota-based credit-card and passport producer and a stake in Gemalto NV, a publicly traded security-software designer based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

“For over 50 years Johanna Quandt has acted for BMW with enthusiasm and passion,” commented BMW’s chief executive officer Harald Krueger in a statement. “She gave the company support and stability.” Quandt had a net worth of $11.5 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making her the eighth richest person in Germany. “The stake will remain within the family,” said spokesperson Joerg Appelhans. The entire Quandt family owns 46.6 percent of BMW, with Johanna Quandt’s children among the shareholders: Stefan Quandt has 17.4 percent and sister Susanne Klatten owns another 12.5 percent. BMW AG is the largest producer of premium cars in the world and owns the BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands.

Via Reuters, Bloomberg