Stephan Schmidheiny

About Stephan Schmidheiny

Birth Place: Hurden, Switzerland, Switzerland

Stephan Schmidheiny Net Worth

Stephan Schmidheiny was born in Hurden, Switzerland, Switzerland. Stephan Schmidheiny, industrial magnate turned philanthropist and environmentalist, rose to prominence in 1976 when he became board president of his father's construction materials company Swiss Eternit Group at age 29. He sold his holdings in the late 1980s. In 2001, Schmidheiny began to withdraw from his remaining business functions and from public life, and in 2003 he donated all shares of his forestry firm Grupo Nueva to his irrevocable Viva Trust, the profits of which are used to promote causes related to sustainability and education.
Stephan Schmidheiny is a member of Investments

💰 Net worth: $2.5 Billion (Updated at 22 June 2018)

2009 $2.5 Billion
2010 $2.8 Billion
2011 $2.9 Billion
2012 $2.7 Billion
2013 $3 Billion
2014 $3.3 Billion
2015 $3.3 Billion
2016 $3 Billion
2017 $2.7 Billion
2018 $2.5 Billion

Awards and nominations:

Schmidheiny has received a large number of prizes and awards in recognition of his leadership and his contribution to sustainable development.

These include a 1993 honorary doctorate from the Instituto Centroamerica de Administración de Empresas (INCAE), Costa Rica and the same honorary doctorate in 1996 by Yale University. and in 2001 by Rollins College, Florida, and the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB), Caracas.

In 2001, Schmidheiny received the Zayed International Prize for the Environment for "Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society".

In 2007, during the PODER Green Forum, Schmidheiny was awarded a Philanthropy Award.

Biography/Timeline

1947

Stephan Ernest Schmidheiny was born in Balgach, St. Gallen, Switzerland, on 29 October 1947 as a fourth generation member of one of the key industrial families in Switzerland and completed his Law studies with a doctorate at the University of Zurich in 1972.

1972

In 1972, Stephan Schmidheiny started his Business career at Eternit. In 1976, at the age of 29, he was named CEO of the Swiss Eternit Group. According to his brother Thomas Schmidheiny, their Father Max Schmidheiny decided to divide his industrial empire into two halves: asbestos for Stephan, cement for Thomas. As a result of this split of activities, Stephan Schmidheiny inherited Eternit.

1974

From 1974 until 2002, Stephan Schmidheiny was married to Ruth Schmidheiny (Administrator of the Daros Latinamerica AG from 1974 until 2002). He has a son and a daughter with Ruth and currently lives in Hurden, Switzerland. Since 2012, he has been married to Dr. Viktoria Schmidheiny-Werner.

1980

In the 1980s he created FUNDES, an organization that supports the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in several Latin American countries. According to recent Swiss accounts, Schmidheiny began buying Chilean forest land in 1982, and he now owns over 120,000 hectares in Southern Chile, near Concepción, land which the Mapuche Indians claim has been theirs since time immemorial. The Mapuche charge that some of the land Schmidheiny bought was stolen from them during the Pinochet dictatorship, using that regime's standard techniques of intimidation, torture, and murder.

1985

In 1985 Schmidheiny supported Nicolas Hayek in his bid for the Swiss watch holding company Société de Microélectronique et d'Horlogerie(SMH), which resulted in the rescue of the Swiss watch industry. Later from this valuable alliance, the present day Swatch Group was formed.

1986

According to his official biography, he ended the company's use of asbestos in 1986. Five years before in 1981, Schmidheiny, then Chairman, announced Eternit’s intention to dispense entirely with its involvement in asbestos production and distribution, far ahead of the 2005 European-wide asbestos ban. Subsequently, Eternit worked to develop and fund research to develop new fiber blends to replace asbestos. In 1984, a majority of Eternit products were manufactured asbestos free.

1987

In 1987, he took over two-thirds of the capital of Landis + Gyr from the family shareholders, as they could provide no successor for leadership. In doing so, Schmidheiny was aware that major changes were necessary, as the company was not doing well. Schmidheiny restructured the company. In 1995, the company was taken over by the Swiss company Elektrowatt.

1990

In the 1990s Schmidheiny established the Fundación AVINA , which contributes to sustainable development in Latin America by encouraging productive alliances among social and Business Leaders and today is a leading player in that field.

1992

Following his involvement in the Rio Summit, Schmidheiny authored the book Change of Course: Global Business Prospects for Development and the Environment, published by MIT Press in 1992. His book offers an extensive analysis of how businesses can make sustainable development their focus, his book has been translated into fifteen languages. He also contributed to Financing Change: The Financial Community, Eco-efficiency, and Sustainable Development also published by MIT Press.

1993

These include a 1993 honorary doctorate from the Instituto Centroamerica de Administración de Empresas (INCAE), Costa Rica and the same honorary doctorate in 1996 by Yale University. and in 2001 by Rollins College, Florida, and the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB), Caracas.

2001

In 2001, Schmidheiny received the Zayed International Prize for the Environment for "Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society".

2003

After the creation of VIVA Trust in 2003, Schmidheiny retired from all of his executive functions, including his positions in GrupoNueva and AVINA.

2007

In 2007, during the PODER Green Forum, Schmidheiny was awarded a Philanthropy Award.

2012

Since 2009, due to these inherited responsibilities within his family’s industrial dynasty and despite his efforts to exit from asbestos, Stephan Schmidheiny has been involved in trials in Italy, one for environmental disaster and another for voluntary manslaughter, both connected to the employ of asbestos in the factories of the inherited company Eternit. In the first trial Stephan Schmidheiny was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment on February 13, 2012. On June 3, 2013, the judgment given in February was not only confirmed, but also increased to 18 years imprisonment for environmental damage by the Turin Appeal Court, In November 2014, it was ruled that the statute of limitations had passed. In 2014, Schmidheiny was acquitted of the charges for alleged negligent behavior in Italy. In 2015, a second trial called "Eternit Bis" began, Stephan Schmidheiny defended against the accusation of voluntary manslaughter.On November 29, 2016 the allegations raised in Eternit Bis were dismissed by the court in Turin and the case closed. Some legal proceedings regarding negligent homicide are still possible, e.g. in Vercelli, Reggio Emilia, Naples as well as in Turin

2019

Schmidheiny’s foundation pioneered a South American microfinance system similar to that of Muhammad Yunus whose widely praised system benefits the citizens of Bangladesh. Stephan Schmidheiny’s charitable activities in South America have meant a donation of over one billion US dollars to the region.