Who is Ludwig Merckle?
Ludwig Merckle is a highly successful businessperson from Germany. One of Germany’s wealthiest men, he is the CEO of Merckle Service, and serves on the board of several other companies including Phoenix Pharmahandel and Heidelberg Cement.
Read More: Ludwig Merckle – Source of Wealth
Early Life and Education
Ludwig Merckle was born to father Adolf Merckle and mother Ruth Merckle in 1965. He was educated in the University of Mannheim, choosing to study computer science and economics and achieving a degree in Business Information Technology.
The Merckle family were based in the Blauberen Mountains in Germany, having had to flee East Germany after the end of WWII.
Ludwig Merckle’s father – Adolf Merckle – took over the running of the family business in 1967 when Ludwig Merckle was only two years old.
Read More: Ludwig Merckle Family
As head of Merckle Service, Adolf Merckle was able to greatly expand the value and diversification of the company, growing to encapsulate Textiles, Vehichle Manufacturing, Construction Materials, Cement, and Metals.
The financial crisis of 2008 hit the Merckle organisation and the family hard. Just before the crash, Adolf Merckle made some ill advised short bets against Volkswagen, which backfired spectacularly as shares in the auto company rose 400% as Porsche announced publicly that they were increasing their share in the company to 75%. This speculative, short sighted gamble cost the family almost €0.5 billion and coincided with a crash in value of Heidelberg Cement shares, which fell to their lowest value in over 19 years.
The banks called in their loans, which were backed by Heidelberg shares, putting the company in dire straits.
Read More: Ludwig Merckle Net Worth
Adolf Merckle tragically committed suicide by train in 2009, leaving the company in a dire situation and leaving Ludwig Merckle to take over the business and restructure the debts to ensure future prosperity.
Ludwig Merckle successfully restructured the company, sacrificing almost $5 Billion USD worth of holdings in several companies including almost all of his interest in Ratiopharm, and 25% of his interests in Heidelberg Cement.
I did not want to brood on the past, but to look ahead, to secure the family heritage.Ludwig Merckle
Career / Present Day
Ludwig Merckle continues to serve the family business, holding the chairmanship of VEM Vermoegensverwaltung, the investment firm inherited from his father, and holds over 25% of Heidelberg Cement which had a profit of over $18 Billion in 2018.
Merckle lives in Ulm, in Germany with his wife Ursula Merckle. The pair have two children.