On June 19th, the world’s oldest billionaire, Walter Haefner, passed away at 101 years of age. Haefner made his fortune of $4.3 billion in automobiles and software investment. He also made profit by breeding and riding race horses, a hobby he took up after a doctor recommended the sport when Haefner was in his 50s. Haefner even won the European cup for amateur riders in 1962.
Haefner was born in Zurich in 1910 and he and his six siblings were raised by their mother since their missionary father spent most of his time in Tibet. Using scholarships from the city of Zurich, Haefner was able to attend the University of Zurich and the University of Lyon in France.
In 1945 Haefner founded Amag in Zurich, which grew to be the biggest car dealership in all of Switzerland. He also became the main importer of Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda and Audi vehicles. Much of the management of Amag was transferred in the early 1960s making room for Haefner to later invest in another endeavor.
In the early 1970s, Haefner saw the potential of the up-and-coming digital future. While many were still on the fence about this upcoming media, Haefner saw an opportunity to invest. During the 70s, he acquired 24.8% of CA, the world’ second-largest maker of mainframe computer programs.
Haefner is survived by his fourth wife and his daughter and son. Both of his children have been involved in his business endeavors and already control and own portions of his companies.
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