Withdrawal: Pharmacy entrepreneur Dirk Rossman retires after 50 years

In 1972, Dirk Rossmann founded his first store and laid the foundation for his drugstore empire. Now he is giving up driving – to have more time for his hobby.

For a long time he did not want to let go, did not want to give up control. “My son is the advisor, I’m the federal president,” Dirk Rossman said some time ago in an interview about the hierarchy at his company. Now Rossman, founder of the pharmacy chain named after him, hands over his collection to his son Raul, who has been running the daily business for several years. The day before his 75th birthday, the patriarch announced that he would retire on September 30 – after nearly 50 years and an eventful entrepreneurial life.

Rossmann’s ascent began in a small pharmacy in Hanover. The store is owned by his parents, with Rossman already behind the counter at the age of 16, he sells toothpaste and washing powder. In 1972 he founded his first pharmacy and named it “Rossmann” – for marketing reasons he did so without the “ß”. The young businessman wants to attract his customers with an idea that was revolutionary at the time: he sells his wares at discount prices. Ten years later, he runs 100 branches.

Dirk and Raoul Rossmann at a press conference.

Photo: Holger Holmann, dpa (archive photo)

Rossmann ranks second among the largest pharmacy chains in Germany

In the following decades, Rossman grew more and more, growing almost unchecked and making his founder a self-made billionaire. Today the group is in second place among German pharmacy chains, after the competitor dm. A businessman once said a few years ago that he doesn’t even know how rich he really is. Because most of the assets are not in his accounts, but in the form of toothpaste and detergent in the stores of his pharmacy chain. A look at the offers shows that it’s still a huge amount Forbes-The List: The magazine, which every year chooses the richest people in the world, ranks Dirk Rossmann at number 775 – with an estimated fortune equivalent to 3.2 billion euros.

However, the businessman also knows again: “I know how bad it feels not to have money,” he once said. If he comes out of the woods with broken pants, his mother screams. “I’ve always wished at some point I had enough money that my pants could break,” Rossman says. At that time it was “injected with a certain abundance”. An economy that remains evident to this day. Rossmann prefers to wear jeans. If you didn’t know who he was, you’d think he was a retired teacher, not a billionaire.

Dirk Rosman wants to devote himself more to writing

In the future, Rossman wants to devote himself to a hobby that fits this picture well: The Patriarch is working on his second book, a thriller called “The Wrath of the Octopus,” which is scheduled to be released in October. His first work, The Ninth Arm of the Octopus, immediately climbed onto the bestseller lists last year—perhaps also because the businessman Rossmann provided writer Roßmann with help getting started: the novel was sold not only in bookstores, but also in all Rossmann branches.

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