Michael Otto was born in Hamburg, Germany, Germany. Michael Otto is #143 in List Billionaires People In The World. Crate and Barrel enjoys excellent name recognition in the U.S., but few shoppers at the furnishings and home accessories retailer know of its German parent, Otto Group. Founded by the late Werner Otto as a mail-order business in Hamburg, in 1949, the family company today is active in real estate and financial services as well as retail. Werner's son Michael, who heads the supervisory board, retired as chief executive in 2007 after 26 years in that position. An environmentalist, he supports a foundation that funds the preservation of Germany's Elbe river. Michael's brother Alexander -- along with Maren Otto, the third wife of Werner, and her daughter Katharina Otto-Bernstein -- own ECE Group, a commercial real estate company focused on logistics centers, office and retail centers. It develops and builds as well as manages properties, while also running funds that invest in the properties it builds and manages. Alexander, Maren and Katharina also own a combined 15% stake in Paramount Group; traded on the New York Stock Exchange, it owns and manages Class A office properties in New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. Another family entity manages apartments and industrial space in the Toronto area. Rounding out the portfolio are retail and service businesses under the umbrella of Otto GmbH & Co. The Otto Group isn't run by a family member but rather by Hans-Otto Schrader. Michael Otto's son Benjamin had widely been expected to take over the helm, but in spring 2015 he announced he would not follow in his father's path as CEO, opting instead to become a managing partner for the group ("gestaltender Gesellschafter," a shareholder who takes an active role but has no operational duties).