Stephan Schmidheiny is a Swiss businessman who has a net worth of $3.3 billion. Stephan Schmidheiny is a fourth generation member of the most important industrial dynasty in Switzerland. Schmidheiny began his career at the company he had inherited; Eternit Niederurnen. The young graduate lawyer entered Eternit at the age of 29 and took over its leadership in 1976, when he was named CEO of the Swiss Eternit Group.
But as the largest shareholder (via Swiss Eternit Group) in the public company Eternit Italia, Schmidheiny has entered a lengthy criminal trial related to alleged asbestos-related illnesses. Together with another shareholder, Schmidheiny was sentenced to 16 years in prison and was provisionally ordered to pay compensation to former workers and residents who lived nearby the plants, even though he ended the company´s use of asbestos in 1986. Fifteen years later, he has quit all his executive functions and placed the leadership of the family holding in new hands, as well as he arranged the settlement of his inheritance. What’s more, in 2003 Schmidheiny donated all shares of his forestry firm Grupo Nueva to his Viva Trust, whose profits are used to promote causes like sustainability and education. When it comes to his private life, he is a married man and a father of four who favors collecting art, especially of contemporary painters Richter and Warhol.
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