When it comes to the global industrial sector, one man who has made a huge difference is Otto Happel. Considered to be one of the richest people in Germany, Happel has a life filled with fascinating achievements and interesting stories. If you’re intrigued, read on to discover 10 things you didn’t know about this multi-billionaire industrialist.

1. The Beginning

Otto Happel was born on February 9, 1948, in Bochum, Germany. However, his roots in industry go back far before his birth. His father, Dr. Otto Happel senior, founded the heat-exchanger company GEA Group in 1920. The family held control of the GEA Group for almost eight decades before its sale in the late 1990s.

Though Happel is well-known for his various business ventures now, it all started back in the GEA Group under his father’s leadership. It’s safe to say he inherited both his entrepreneurial skills and his dedication to the industry from his father.

2. Education and Early Career

After attending the traditional Leys School in Cambridge, England, Happel trained as a machine fitter at his father’s company, thereby gaining practical experience. He then studied business administration at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, from where he launched his career.

After his training and education, Happel spent some time in America, gaining experience and learning different business practices. He worked his way up in the industry, earning his stripes before eventually taking over the family business, the GEA Group, at his father’s death in 1981.

3. Otto’s Tenure at GEA Group

When Otto took the reins of the GEA Group in 1981, he significantly expanded the business operations. Under his leadership, the company saw substantial growth, becoming a global producer of process technology and components for demanding production processes.

Despite the company’s success, Happel sold GEA to Metallgesellschaft (mg technologies today) in 1999. It was seen as a surprising move after his long tenure there, but it certainly wasn’t the end of his involvement in business or his ability to make a significant impact.

4. Billionaire Status

Post GEA sale, Otto Happel went on to establish his legacy in the industrial sector. His current net worth is around $2.9 billion according to Forbes, which places him among the richest people in Germany.

Despite his status as a billionaire, Happel is known for being relatively low-profile. He prefers to keep his personal life private, and focuses on investing wisely and on his various philanthropic pursuits.

5. Family-run Luserve AG

Following the sale of GEA Group, Happel established the family office, Luserve AG, in 1998, serving as its CEO. The company makes strategic investments in global businesses and has stakes in the fields of materials technology, health care, real estate, renewable energy, and infrastructure.

Under Happel’s leadership, Luserve AG has become an internationally successful investment company. It’s a testament to his shrewd business acumen and commitment to sustainable and intelligent investment.

6. Global Real Estate Investments

Apart from his investments in business and industry, Happel also invests heavily in real estate. He owns properties in Singapore, Mauritius, Manhattan in New York, and various other locations across the globe.

The billionaire industrialist has a knack for property investment, and his extensive portfolio of properties stands as proof of his expertise in that area as well.

7. Philanthropy

Apart from being a successful businessman, Happel is also a philanthropist. He runs the Happel Foundation, which is aimed at improving livelihoods through social investment projects in less developed countries.

The foundation focuses on primary health care and education projects, matching Happel’s belief in basic human rights for all. His philanthropic work showcases his commitment to giving back and creating a positive impact.

8. Yacht Lover

Another interesting fact about Happel is his love for yachts. He owns one of the world’s largest yachts, the 90-meter “La Familia”. The yacht is often spotted in various luxurious locations around the world.

For Happel, yachting is more than just a hobby. Over the years, he has formed a close bond with the global yachting community, with his luxury yacht serving as an emblem of his passion for the sea.

9. International Lifestyle

Though born in Germany, Happel has become a global citizen. He spends time in his homes across the globe, including Singapore, Switzerland, and Mauritius. His international lifestyle reflects his broad world view and his commitment to being a global industrialist.

This internationalist outlook extends to his business practices as well. His companies and investments span across various countries and industries, making him truly a global business magnate.

10. Low Media Profile

Despite his public standing as a billionaire industrialist, Otto Happel is a man of few words when it comes to media appearances. He is known for maintaining a low-media profile and is rarely seen giving interviews or public speeches.

This tendency towards privacy has cultivated an air of mystery around him. While his business ventures and charitable activities are well-known, his personal life remains largely private, a rarity in this era of social media and open access to information.

Now that you’ve discovered 10 unknown facts about Otto Happel, the multi-billionaire industrialist, it’s easy to see why he is considered one of the most influential figures in the industry. His life is an inspiring tale of entrepreneurship, smart investing, humility, and contribution to the welfare of those less fortunate.

You can learn more about Otto Happel, his businesses and his philanthropic pursuits from these valuable sources:

Forbes Article On Otto Happel

Bloomberg Profile On Otto Happel

Official GEA Group Website

Official Happel Foundation Website