CEO of German Tengelmann Group Karl-Erivan W. Haub talks at a press conference in Muelheim, western Germany, in 2009. Picture: Martin Meissner/AP

Berlin — Authorities in Switzerland and Italy were searching Wednesday for a German billionaire who has been missing in the Alps since the weekend, when he failed to return from a ski excursion on the Matterhorn.

Karl-Erivan Haub, heir to the Tengelmann retail empire, was training for a ski race when he disappeared on Switzerland's famous peak, located on the border with Italy.

A spokeswoman for Tengelmann said Wednesday that there was no news yet on the fate of the 58-year-old. Sieglinde Schuchardt told The Associated Press that Haub was an experienced skier and mountaineer.

Swiss daily Blick reported that the Haub family raised the alarm after Haub didn't show up at his hotel in Zermatt on Saturday afternoon.

The head of mountain rescue services in Italy's Aosta valley, Adriano Favre, was quoted by Blick as saying that bad weather and high avalanche risk on the Italian side forced a six-person team to interrupt their search Tuesday.

Favre said Haub was skiing on his own and since the area where he disappeared includes glaciers, it was possible he might have fallen into a crevasse, Blick reported.

Swiss rescue service Air Zermatt said it had no new information Wednesday morning but their search was ongoing.

Haub - who was born in Tacoma, Washington - and his brother Christian have led the company since 2000. The family's fortune is estimated at over 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion)

Tengelmann's main businesses are the hardware store Obi and clothing retailer KiK. It also has large stakes in the Netto supermarket chain and online retailer Zalando.

AP