The wealthiest Czech Republic person, Petr Kellner, credited with a fortune topping $13 billion, has died in a helicopter crash in Alaska, aged 56, his spokeswoman said on Monday.
Kellner owned the financial, telecommunications, engineering and insurance PPF Group, which employs 94,000 people worldwide. He was reputed to have meticulously guarded his privacy.
Spokeswoman of the PPF group said, Jitka Tkadlecova told AFP. “With deep regret we announce that PPF Group founder and majority shareholder Mr Petr Kellner died tragically in a helicopter crash in the Alaska Range on Saturday”.
She added that “The causes of the accident, in which a total of five people died, are being investigated”.
According to Czech media, Kellner was on a heli-skiing trip.
Forbes magazine in a 2020 publication put Kellner’s wealth, at 293 billion Czech crowns (11.2 billion Euros, $13.2 billion).
According to reports, Kellner, who started his business selling copy machines, founded the PPF Group in 1991, two years after the fall of Communism in the former Czechoslovakia.
The group with global assets worth 44 billion euros comprises Home Credit International, the world’s largest non-banking consumer lender with extensive activities on the Chinese market.
PPF recently bought the CME media group running TV companies in central and eastern Europe, as well as Telenor’s telecommunications assets in the Balkans.
Kellner’s daughter Anna Kellnerova is a two-time Czech junior show jumping champion with an ambition to appear at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Tkadlecova said Kellner’s funeral will take place “in a narrow family circle” .