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#329 Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler $5.39B

Random fact: Born in Prague, raised in Vienna. Citizen of Austria and Germany.


Schaeffler-Thumann is the vice-chairwoman and co-owner of Schaeffler AG, a manufacturer of ball bearings and automotive supplies. The Herzogenaurach, Germany-based company employees more than 85,000 people and had revenue of 13.3 billion euros ($14.8 billion) in 2016. She also owns 9 percent of auto-parts maker Continental.

As of June 20, 2018:
Last change -$137M (-2.5%)
YTD change -$660M (-10.9%)
Industry Industrial
Biggest asset CON GY Equity
Citizenship Germany
Age 76
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler's net worth of $5.39B 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

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Schaeffler-Thumann's fortune is derived from a 20 percent stake in INA-Holding, a Herzogenaurach, Germany-based closely held company. Through INA-Holding and its fully-owned subsidiaries, he controls interests in publicly traded auto parts maker Continental and ball bearing maker Schaeffler AG.

She owns 20 percent of the holding vehicle and her son, Georg Schaeffler, owns the remaining 80 percent, according to information published on the Orbis company database.

The billionaire and her son collectively hold 46 percent of the business, according to the company's website in June 2018, and the 2017 annual report.

They also control Schaeffler AG, which had an initial public offering in October 2015. All of the non-trading voting shares are held by IHO Verwaltungs, according to the 2017 annual report. This entity is fully owned by INA-Holding, according to information published on the Orbis database.

IHO Verwaltungs had debt of 4.2 billion euros, as of March 31, 2018, according to a May 2018 presentation. A liability is included to reflect the billionaire's 20 percent share of this debt and is adjusted to reflect calculated cash holdings.

Christoph Beumelburg, a spokesman at Schaeffler AG, declined to comment on the net worth calculation.


Birthdate: 8/17/1941
Family: Married, 1 child
Education: 1963, Graduated, Medicine, Universitat Wien

Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler-Thumann was born in Prague in 1941. She fled Czechoslovakia with her family to Austria after World War II. She studied medicine in Vienna and married Georg Schaeffler, Sr., the founder of a namesake ball bearing manufacturer, in 1963.

Schaeffler-Thumann inherited 20 percent of the family company when her husband died in 1996. With her son, Georg Jr., she orchestrated one of Germany's largest hostile takeovers, acquiring Continental for more than $17 billion in 2008. The takeover backfired when Continental shareholders accepted the Schaefflers' offer to buy stock as markets collapsed, leaving them with more than 90 percent of the shares and $15 billion in debt. Mother and son restructured the debt and now control almost half of Continental.

She lives in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

  • 1941 Born in Prague and later moves to Vienna, where she attends medical school.
  • 1949 Georg Schaeffler develops new type of ball bearing.
  • 1963 Marries Georg Schaeffler, founder of a namesake ball bearing manufacturer.
  • 1964 Son Georg born in Erlangen, Germany.
  • 1996 Inherits 20 percent of family company when husband dies.
  • 2008 Buys majority of Continental in hostile takeover bid.
  • 2014 Marries Juergen Thumann.
  • 2015 Plans IPO of Schaeffler AG to pay down debt.