BAD HOMBURG, Germany -- Johanna Quandt, the billionaire widow whose husband turned Germany's BMW AG into the largest maker of luxury cars, died Aug. 3 at her home here, according to a statement from the Johanna Quandt Foundation. She was 89. No cause was given.
The third wife and onetime secretary of Herbert Quandt had a net worth of $11.5 billion, ranking 98th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and eighth within Germany.
She inherited a 16.7 percent stake in BMW when her husband died in 1982. She stepped down from the supervisory board in 1997.
Quandt, born Johanna Bruhn, attended school in Potsdam and Berlin and began an apprenticeship in medical technology, but her training was interrupted by World War II. She found her first job as a banker's secretary in Cologne before joining Herbert Quandt's office in Bad Homburg, a spa town near Frankfurt, in the mid-1950s.
Within a few years, she became Herbert's personal assistant, with increasing influence over his business decisions. They married in 1960 and had two children.