Billionaire Philanthropist

Big Shoes to Fill

Heinz-Horst Deichmann_DPA
Deceased shoe maker Heinz-Horst Deichmann: "Companies must serve people."
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    After the death of Heinz-Horst Deichmann, his son Heinrich will now need to steer Europe’s largest shoe retailer to continued growth.

  • Facts


    • Mr. Deichmann died at age 88 in Essen.
    • His business concept centered around the idea of good quality for little money.
    • He handed the company over to his son in 1999, but remained deputy chairman of the board until his death.
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He loved people and he loved shoes. But did he also love money?

“Money is a good supporter but a bad leader,” Heinz-Horst Deichmann once said. There are few entrepreneurs who could utter such words with more credibility.

In 2013, Deichmann had revenues of €4.6 billion ($5.8 billion), sold more than 167 million pairs of shoes, employed over 35,000 people, and  operated 3,500 shops in more than 20 countries. Today, the company is Europe’s biggest shoemaker.

Last Thursday, Heinz-Horst Deichmann died at age 88 in his home town of Essen. He was a billionaire on the one hand and a Christian philanthropist on the other. With his charity “Wohlundtat,” he supported 200,000 people in the poorest regions of the world.

Deichmann embodied the theory of the German sociologist, Max Weber, as no other.

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