Ueli Prager, the founder of the Swiss Mövenpick hotel and restaurant group, has died at the age of 95.
His family published an obituary for his death on Tuesday. The Blick tabloid reported he claimed the secret to his success was being “open to everything”. Prager died in his sleep.
Prager started with one restaurant in Zurich in 1948, later opening others in Switzerland before expanding abroad in the 1960s.
The first Mövenpick brand – coffee – was launched in 1963, followed by its ice cream in 1969. The group’s first hotel opened its doors three years later. The company was listed on the stock exchange in 1978 and in 1988, Prager stepped down as managing director and handed over the reins to his wife Jutta.
In the 1990s the Pragers sold their majority stake in the company to German businessman August von Finck, at which time it had around 10,000 employees, 61 restaurants, 38 hotels, and a dozen motorway restaurants.
Von Finck delisted Mövenpick from the Swiss stock exchange in 2007, returning the company to a family-run enterprise. Today there are 115 restaurants worldwide, including Marché. In addition there are 70 hotels and resorts.
In recent years the Pragers spent a lot of time at their second home in London.
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