SPAR Austria mourns the passing of founding father Luis Drexel

October 16, 2019 IN THE CATEGORY: All News

On Tuesday, 15 October, Luis Drexel passed away at the age of 95. Luis Drexel, the last surviving founding father of SPAR Austria, had a decisive influence on the retail industry and played a key role in shaping SPAR in Austria. His passing is a loss not only to SPAR but also to the retail industry in general as his work had gained him many awards.

From 1957 onwards, Luis Drexel, born in Vorarlberg, successfully built the SPAR retail chain in that area, together with his father Johann and his brothers Herbert and Hans, sharing his vision, diligence and sense in developing the business in the Vorarlberg region. Until 1970, SPAR in Austria was run by ten independent regional partners and Luis Drexel played a leading role in the formation of the united SPAR Austria business in that year, becoming Chairman of the Board, a position he held for 20 years. He was also the President of the SPAR Austria retailer association for 25 years, President of the SPAR Austria Supervisory Board for 11 years and in his role as President of SPAR International for 20 years, he contributed to the growth of the brand globally.

Luis Drexel was CEO of SPAR Austria when the first INTERSPAR Hypermarkets were launched and the SPAR store network was  developed and extended, expanding also into new business areas. After moving to the SPAR Austria Supervisory Board, he continued to shape SPAR through his pioneering spirit and this was followed by the decade in which SPAR grew rapidly as a result of several acquisitions and foreign business activities.

His entrepreneurial courage, his prudence and his extraordinary life’s work has lead to him receiving many awards. Luis Drexel was, among other things, the bearer of the Grand Golden Medal of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria and the Golden Medal of Honour of the Province of Vorarlberg. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Vorarlberger State of Affairs, and last year he received the first ever awarded “Austrian Trade Award for outstanding performance in domestic trade” from the Austrian Trade Association. Furthermore, Luis Drexel was a recipient of the Van Well Medal, the highest honour of SPAR International, as well as the SPAR honorary ring from SPAR Austria, the highest award of SPAR Austria.

Luis Drexel leaves behind his wife Maria, son Gerhard Drexel, who is the current CEO of SPAR Austria, and his three daughters and their families.

Source: SPAR Austria

About SPAR Austria

The origins of SPAR in Austria date back to 1954 and the current SPAR AG was created in 1970, when the original founding families joined with other regional wholesalers to form SPAR Austria AG – a 100% privately owned Austrian company.

SPAR Austria’s gross retail sales growth reached 6.7 billion euro in 2017 from 1,566 stores including 757 operated by independent retailers. SPAR Austria is the largest private training organisation for young apprentices in their market.