By Ian Neubauer
SYDNEY: The age-old idiom ‘money can’t buy everything’ rang true this morning for multimillionaire John Ilhan, founder of Crazy John’s mobile phone company, who died this morning of a suspected heart attack. He is survived by his wife and four children.
“John collapsed during his morning walk near his house and could not be revived by ambulance officers,” read a statement issued today by Crazy John’s South Melbourne headquarters. “We ask all media to respect the privacy of the Ilhan family at this very difficult time.”
According to BRW Magazine, Ilhan is reported to have amassed more than $300 million since quitting his job as a leading salesperson at Strathfield Car Radios and opening his first mobile phone dealership in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick. Originally operating under the brand name Mobileworld, Ilhan reportedly took on the ‘crazy’ moniker after competitors began telling him his ideas were crazy.
“These ideas included being the first to sell a mobile phone for $1 while competitors were charging $200, giving away free accessories or holding midnight barbecues in the early days of trading,” reads information posted on the company’s website.
Today Crazy John’s is the largest independent mobile phone retailer in the country, with more than 120 stores Australia-wide staffed by some 600 workers.
Crazy John’s managing director, Brendan Fleiter, said the company would maintain its present course despite the loss of the much-loved helmsman.
“The Crazy John’s business is strong and focused on it’s future as John would have wished. The key business objectives that John created such as customer service and offering the best deal will be something staff will be dedicated to do even more in his memory,” he said.
“He cared about looking after his customers and the people who worked with him.”