|Born||20 May 1977
Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria
|Residence||Vienna and Innsbruck, Austria|
|Occupation||Chairman of SIGNA's Advisory Board|
René Benko (born 20 May 1977 in Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria) is an Austrian real estate investor and founder of SIGNA Holding. SIGNA is considered Austria’s largest privately held real estate conglomerate.
René Benko was born in Innsbruck as the son of a local government official and nursery school teacher and studied at a business college. At the age of 17 he gained his first experience of the real estate sector in a building company owned by an acquaintance. He subsequently dropped out of college because his overriding interest in the real estate business had led to him missing too many lessons to be allowed to take his school leaving exams.
René Benko is married for a second time and has four children.
Benko is a real estate investor. At the end of 1999 he founded the two-man company Immofina Holding GesmbH, which was renamed Signa Holding GesmbH in 2006.
On 18 June 2013 Benko withdrew from the operative management of Signa Holding GmbH and took over the chairmanship of the Advisory Board of the Signa Group.
According to a number of business magazines he is one of the 30 richest Austrians. Rene Benko currently holds rank 29.
In August 2014 Signa Holding took over Karstadt Premium GmbH, Karstadt Sports GmbH and Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH which, with revenue of around 2.6 billion euros and a total of around 22,000 employees is Germany’s largest chain of department stores.
On 2 November 2012 Benko and the tax advisor Michael Passer were found guilty of “attempted prohibited intervention” (bribery) and convicted to a suspended sentence of one year by the Vienna Regional Court. The judge saw the case as a “model of corruption”, in which Benko commissioned Passer to contact the former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader and offer him 150,000 euros to influence a pending Italian court case in his favour. The conviction was confirmed by the Higher Regional Court on 13 August 2013 and, following Benko’s appeal, by the Supreme Court on 11 August 2014. Due to Austrian law the criminal record is meanwhile cleared, because he was just sentenced to a conditional punishment for one year.
In 2011 Benko was named Tyrolean of the Year by the Regional Governor Günther Platter and Man of the Year by the Austrian Business Magazine Trend.