Michael Otto, head of the world’s biggest mail order company, Otto Group, was born in Kulm, Germany, in 1943, on 12 April. He is the son of Werner Otto who started his business in 1949 with 14 page shoe catalogue. Now $14 billion worth Otto Group consists of 123 main companies and operates across 19 countries in America, Europe and Asia. Today, Otto Group does several things from selling toys to building supplies.
Michael Otto received “Abitur” qualification from school and took training in a bank. Later he completed his degree in economics and PhD in Political science. During his studies, he founded finance booking and real estate business.
He joined Otto Group in 1971 and became the member of the Executive Board Merchandise. He enlarged the operations across the world and ventured into online sales. Now it has become world’s second biggest internet retailer behind Amezon.com. Since 2007, he has been the Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Otto Group. After 2007, he became head of Otto Group. He brother Frank takes care of family’s shopping center, ECE Group. Michael Otto, alone with his family own 75% of the company and holds a 96% stake in Crate & Barrel, a home furnishings retailer and real estate in U.S. In 2007, their Paramount Group purchased Wall Street headquarters of Deutsche Bank
He is an active environmentalist who advocates and contributes to foundation that helps preserving Germany’s Elbe River. In 1993, he founded the Michael Otto Foundation that is prompt in continuing multi stakeholder dialogue on environmental concerns. He has been honored with the Vernon A. Walters Prize for his initiative to bridge the gap of U.S German relationship and in 1020, he has been given Theodor Heuss Prize for his active contributions to society.
Michael and family is Germany’s most affluent family. According to Forbes Magazine 2010, he is the world’s 21th richest man whose net worth is $18.7 billion