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Mogul builds $1.1 billion fortune, still rides bike to work

Mogul builds $1.1 billion fortune, still rides bike to work

Marek Piechocki has built a billion-dollar fortune, but the Polish businessman is not letting it change his life. Not a typical fashion mogul, he earnestly protects his privacy and keeps away from the limelight

Piechocki, 60, co-founded LPP S.A in 1991 with Jerzy Lubianiec, as Poland was transforming into a market economy Piechocki, 60, co-founded LPP S.A in 1991 with Jerzy Lubianiec, as Poland was transforming into a market economy

Marek Piechocki, co-founder of LPP S.A, Poland's largest fashion retailer, is not letting his billion-dollar fortune change his ways. He shuns the limelight, even avoids having his photograph taken, and still rides a bicycle to work.

Marek Piechocki has built a billion-dollar fortune, but the Polish businessman is not letting it change his life. Not a typical fashion mogul, he earnestly protects his privacy and keeps away from the limelight. He even avoids having his photographs taken, and still rides to work on his bicycle rather than a limousine, reports Bloomberg.

When asked in 2019, why he is so focused on protecting his privacy, he said he does not want anyone to raise prices for records that he buys at flea markets in Gdansk.  He also avoids catwalk shows and business and celebrity events. He doesn't have a separate office at LPP's headquarters in Gdansk, and prefers to sit at free desks among the designer teams.

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Piechocki, 60, co-founded LPP S.A in 1991 with Jerzy Lubianiec, as Poland was transforming into a market economy. The company is the country's largest apparel retailer, engaging in the manufacture and distribution of clothing. Initially, it imported Turkish sweaters. Today, LPP has more than 1,800 stores in 25 countries, according to its latest annual report seen by Bloomberg. It owns clothing brands, including Reserved, Cropp, House, Mohito and Sinsay, which are priced lower than Western competitors.

Since November, LPP's stock has more than doubled as investors are valuing the company's e-commerce capabilities even as the pandemic hit sales at physical stores. The company faced difficulties during the 2010s when a fire ravaged its Bangladesh subcontractor and damaged collections, causing the company to lose customers. In response, Piechocki cut dividends, raised wages of designers and invested in e-commerce.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Piechocki's family foundation accumulated about $1.1 billion in wealth. He, however, insists on not being called a billionaire, arguing the wealth is no longer his. In 2018, he transferred his shares to the foundation, which counts himself, multiple family members and others as beneficiaries. The foundation is barred from selling LPP shares. In recent years, the company has focused on expanding in eastern Europe. Its three biggest sources of revenue are Poland, Russia and Ukraine.

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Published on: Jun 24, 2021, 10:28 PM IST
Posted by: Manoj Sharma, Jun 24, 2021, 10:28 PM IST