The Wesjohann Family: From German Farmers to Global Poultry Tycoons

Erich Wesjohann family 1 1


Erich Wesjohann is a German businessman and billionaire, known for being the co-owner of the largest poultry breeding company in the world, Lohmann Tierzucht. He is also the CEO of the holding company EW Group, which owns several international subsidiaries in the animal breeding, animal health, and biotechnology industries. As of 2021, Erich Wesjohann’s net worth is estimated to be $6.1 billion, according to Forbes.

Early Life and Education

Erich Wesjohann was born in 1941 in Visbek, a small village in Lower Saxony, Germany. He grew up on a farm, which belonged to his family for generations. The family business focused on pig breeding and agricultural supplies. Wesjohann studied agricultural sciences at the University of Hanover, where he earned his degree in 1964. After graduation, he worked for a few years as a research assistant at the Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics in Hanover.

Career and Achievements

In 1969, Wesjohann joined Lohmann Tierzucht, which was founded by his cousin, Fritz Lohmann. Lohmann Tierzucht is a breeding company that specializes in poultry genetics, with a focus on egg production. Wesjohann became the CEO of the company in 1976, and since then, he has expanded the business by creating subsidiaries in more than 20 countries. Today, Lohmann Tierzucht is the largest independent poultry breeding company in the world, with a market share of over 40%.

In 1997, Wesjohann founded EW Group, a holding company that manages the portfolio of the family’s businesses. Through EW Group, Wesjohann has acquired several companies in the animal breeding, animal health, and biotechnology industries, including Hy-Line International, Rowe Nutrition, Animedica, Hermitage Genetics, and Aviagen Group. The company has established a strong presence in North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Wesjohann’s leadership and innovation in the breeding industry have earned him several accolades and awards, including the World’s Poultry Science Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the Poultry International Lifetime Achievement Award, and the prestigious German Federal Cross of Merit.

Personal Life

Erich Wesjohann is married and has four children. His son, Philipp Wesjohann, is a co-owner and board member of Lohmann Tierzucht and EW Group. The family lives in Barr Lake, a town in Lower Saxony, Germany, where they own a horse farm and a vineyard.


Name Born Country Sector Companies Net Worth
Erich Wesjohann 1941 Germany Animal breeding, Animal health, Biotechnology Lohmann Tierzucht, EW Group, Hy-Line International, Rowe Nutrition, Animedica, Hermitage Genetics, Aviagen Group $6.1 billion
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