Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#125 Heinz Hermann Thiele $11.3B

Random fact: Daughter Julia leads the Knorr-Bremse Global Care Foundation.


Thiele controls Knorr-Bremse Group, a German parts manufacturer that had revenue of 5.5 billion euros ($6.1 billion) in 2016. Based in Munich, the closely held company makes brake systems for rail cars and commercial vehicles. He also owns 44.7 percent of Vossloh, a publicly traded railroad equipment producer.

As of April 26, 2018:
Last change -$242M (-2.1%)
YTD change -$503M (-4.3%)
Industry Industrial
Biggest asset Knorr-Bremse
Citizenship Germany
Age 77
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Heinz Hermann Thiele's net worth of $11.3B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Heinz Hermann Thiele's fortune is derived from his control of Knorr-Bremse, a closely held Munich-based manufacturer of brake systems for rail and commercial vehicles. He holds the shares through holding companies, including Knorr-Bremse Aktiengesellschaft, and family members, according to the Orbis company database. Orbis describes Thiele as Knorr-Bremse's global ultimate owner and he's attributed full ownership in this analysis.

The company had revenue of 5.5 billion euros ($6.1 billion) in 2016. It's valued using the average enterprise value-to-sales multiples of two publicly traded peer companies: Haldex and Wabco.

The billionaire also owns 44.7 percent of publicly traded rail equipment producer Vossloh, according to the company's 2016 annual report.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of dividends, insider transactions, taxes and market performance.

Eva Seifert, a spokeswoman for Knorr-Bremse, declined to comment on the net worth calculation.


Birthdate: 4/2/1941
Family: Married, 2 children

Knorr-Bremse was started in Berlin by inventor Georg Knorr in 1905. It produced the MG35 machine gun for the German army during World War II. The company moved to Munich in 1946, after their Berlin factory was confiscated by Allied forces.

Thiele was born in Mainz, Germany, in 1941. He joined Knorr-Bremse in the patent and legal department in 1969, after graduating with a law degree from the University of Munich. The billionaire rose from the patent department to head of Knorr-Bremse's legal department and then to leading the entire company within 15 years. He acquired the business in 1985.

Knorr-Bremse concentrated on manufacturing braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles under Thiele's ownership. He is the chairman of the company's supervisory board. The billionaire lives in Munich with his wife. They have two children.

  • 1905 Knorr-Bremse is founded in Berlin by inventor Georg Knorr.
  • 1941 Heinz Hermann Thiele is born in Mainz, Germany.
  • 1945 Factory confiscated after Second World War; firm moves to Munich.
  • 1969 Starts career at Knorr-Bremse in patent and legal department.
  • 1984 Appointed to the board of the company.
  • 1985 Builds up majority stake in Knorr-Bremse.
  • 1989 Becomes sole owner of Knorr-Bremse.
  • 2005 Founds charitable foundation, Knorr-Bremse Global Care.