Götz Werner: 12 Facts About the dm Founder

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götz werner dm founder german entrepeneurs

Götz Werner is the founder of dm, Germany’s largest drug store chain (and also one of the biggest in Europe), as well as a famous anthroposophist ( = wisdom of man) and advocate of the basic income in Germany. In his autobiography Womit ich nie gerechnet habe (2014) (= What I would have never expected), he describes the rise of dm and his philosophy behind it. Find out more about the inspirational German entrepreneur Götz Werner through the following facts:

  • Götz Werner was born in 1944 in Heidelberg. He grew up as the youngest of five siblings (two brothers and two sisters) in an old mansion next to the river Neckar. His parents separated when he was eleven years old.
  • His dad was a successful druggist as well and was running 20 branches with 200 employees in 1968 around the city of Heidelberg. Götz Werner and his father were planning that he should take over his dads drugstore business, but it never happened due to a fight. Götz Werner instead started working for the drugstore called Roth in Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe is also the location of the dm headquarter).
  • As a teenager, Götz Werner enjoyed canoeing and became a member at the Ruderklub 1872 e.V. (= Canoeing club 1872). Together with a friend, he even won some championships.
  • He started a four-year apprenticeship as a druggist at the age of 16 in Konstanz.
  • He is now living in his second marriage with Beatrice (former Rehn). He has three children from his previous marriage and four children with Beatrice. All seven children were raised together.
  • His wife Beatrice is the sister of Alnatura founder (a pioneer in bio food, which was also available in dm shelves until dm started producing his own bioproducts) Götz Rehn. Götz Rehn and Götz Werner were close friends but then started a fight that even landed in court.
  • Götz Werner founded dm in 1973 after the removal of price-fixing for drugstore products in Germany.
  • He is an anthroposophist and loves the German poet Goethe. The dm slogan since 1992 is a modification of the Goethe quote from his most famous play Faust: “Ich bin ich Mensch, hier kauf ich ein” ( = Here I am a human being, here I’ll shop). The original quote from the play says “Ich bin ich Mensch, hier darf ich’s sein” ( = Here am I human, here I am allowed to be so)
  • He’s a very influential advocate of the unconditional basic income in Germany.
  • His biggest competitor in Germany is the drugstore Rossmann.
  • In 2010, Werner announced, that his money will be transferred to a charitable foundation. His seven children will be well provided as well: through good education. His son Christoph Werner is the head manager of dm since 2019.
  • The dm philosophy (for apprentices as well as employees) says learning by doing instead of only listening is important.

Featured image (cropped): Götz WernerRe: Publica Wikimedia – CC BY 2.0

April 25, 2020
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