Düsseldorf entrepreneur Roger Klüh: "I didn't want to become like Prince Charles"

Düsseldorf entrepreneur Roger Klüh: "I didn't want to become like Prince Charles"

No doubt - the man has held up well. After all, he'll be 54 in a few weeks, an age at which many gentlemen's shirts stretch a little (more) over their stomachs, their heads go bald, gray or white, and many other things start to flake. Not in Roger Klüh's case. A few gray whiskers on the cheeks, but the shoulder-length hair is still dark blond and thick, not light. Above all: to all appearances, everything is genuine, no tricks from any experts in nature tutoring.

How he does it? Grinning broadly (his teeth look impeccable!), he explains his fitness program, which he calls age-appropriate maintenance. Regular jogging, a few pieces of sports equipment at home in his apartment in the Zoo district of Düsseldorf, and a healthy diet are all part of it. During the conversation, he drinks still water and orange juice. Alcohol? Very little, he says. A glass of red wine now and then - because "my doctor once said that a glass of wine is better than no wine! In addition, the very present laughter again. It's clear that the man is at peace with himself. However, he smokes at least two cigars a day, Partagas E2, from Cuba, of course. Price: about 15 euros - per piece.

The fact that he is known in Düsseldorf is due to the family name. Klüh is now one of the world's leading and largest service companies with around 50,000 employees. The senior, Josef (friends may call him "Jupp"), created the empire from scratch, starting out in the 1950s with a handful of people cleaning windows. That the son would eventually join in was probably firmly planned. But anyone who knows father (77) and son knows that the two are similar in some ways. The classic situation followed: the boy enters the company, the patriarch has a mind of his own, the son too - and at some point, the conclusion is reached that two such alpha animals are not cut out to run the business together. Roger: "I didn't want to become like Prince Charles!" What is meant is waiting decades to finally become No. 1.

In many such cases, a war now follows - senior against junior, at the expense of the company and above all the family. However, this did not happen at Klüh senior and Klüh junior - despite all the haggling. Because that's exactly what they didn't want, they parted in peace after ten years of the not exactly successful attempt, but above all not absolutely. Says Roger. And further: "I trust my father, we have a good connection with each other!" As a result, he still feels connected to the company, but he is not active in operations, so he has no responsibility. He does, however, sit on the advisory board of the Klüh Foundation. That doesn't exactly sound like stress.

Otherwise, he leads the nice life of a well-heeled private citizen? "Nah," he says. "I hate that, already sitting around at noon drinking rosé. With me, the day is clearly structured, I have enough to do." He admits to having time, though. Because Klüh is eager to post photos on Facebook of trips around the world, often on the water, in an open convertible (with his pretty young girlfriend next to him) on the highway to Las Vegas or in his dream hotel in Hawaii, he creates an impression of a chilled-out life of luxury. He knows this, accepts it, because he simply doesn't care: "My friends and family know that my life is different!"

Either way - it's not bad, and he knows that too, radiating satisfaction. Nevertheless, he has ambition: In August 2015, for example, a spectacular trip in a speedboat from Miami to Havana was a kind of lifelong dream that he fulfilled, and he still likes to talk about it in detail. The fact that in the end even U.S. President Donald Trump and Cuba's then head of state Raul Castro played important roles in the process are two more facts in the story of Roger Klüh. For many months, the missile, which normally shoots across the water, lay damaged in the port of Havana, followed by endless wrangling over the return of the boat to the USA - including the threat of punishment from there for allegedly violating the embargo rules of the Americans, and finally help from a friend of the current president.

A lot of trouble, then, and the Klüh scion doesn't like to talk about the cost of the whole spectacle - but he's proud of having finally got everything sorted out. Either way, this breakneck ride (like several other excursions with this always wildly bucking vehicle) has brought him a number of orthopedic problems and great international notoriety. Even the New York Times and CNN reported on this crazy German, who was determined to get from Miami to Havana on a speedboat, something no one had ever done before him. As a late consequence, even fashion people came forward with the idea of marketing clothing under the name of the boat "Apache Star," and a perfume manufacturer wants to call a new fragrance by that name. Klüh has nothing against this, but does not want to get involved itself.

Will he do that in the family business one day? He answers the question - that grin again - evasively - his father is still very fit and very present, but it is certain that everything will remain in family hands. It is possible that his sons will step in and overtake the natural heir to the throne - a possibility that also exists among the royals in London. Son Jeffrey (19) is currently studying at the European Business School in Barcelona, and son Anthony (25) is a chef. Neither is bad at a company that currently makes a significant portion of its sales from catering and in canteens. He talks to both of them on the phone every day, says Roger Klüh proudly.

Source: RP Online

Reading next

Roger Klüh und Nadja Zikes im Friedensdorf
From Florida to Cuba: Roger Klüh from Düsseldorf breaks speedboat record

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.