A living legend until the end, that is what Karl Albrecht was. Aldi's co-founder passed away last Wednesday at the age of 94, surviving his brother Theo by 4 years.
No Lidl without Aldi
It is a well-known fact that the Albrecht brothers had divided their turf geographically, in order to avoid any collisions and because they, or so the story goes, differed in business approach. Theo took control of Aldi Nord from 1961, while Karl Albrecht developed Aldi discount in southern Germany.
His Aldi Süd has always been vibrant than Aldi Nord, adding products, brands and services at a more rapid pace. Aldi Nord kept focusing on hard discount, with a limited array of some 600 to 800 products and a consistently simple and cost-efficient work ethic, while Aldi Süd took more liberties. However, it did not lose track of cutting costs wherever it could.
Aldi Süd has always gradually adapted the discount formula to changes in society which impacted client behaviour and without Aldi Süd, there would have been no Lidl. The adaptable Aldi Süd inspired German entrepreneur Dieter Schwarz to develop Lidl in 1973.
No mention of passing on Aldi Süd website
Karl Albrecht led Aldi Süd until 1994, when he passed the torch at the age of 74. He remained chairman of the board for another 8 years and then withdrew from the company entirely.
Remarkably, Aldi Süd's website made no mention of its founder's passing. According to German Lebensmittel Zeitung, Aldi Süd's main office in Mülheim has released an official statement; "Karl Albrecht never wanted any public attention and always diverted any praise given to his employees", the statement said.
That is why it is not an issue that his passing last Wednesday and his funeral yesterday were not mentioned on the company's website. Karl would not have wanted it any other way.