|Birth Place:||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
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With the net worth of $6 Billion, Sam Zell is the # 243 richest person on earth all the time follow our database.
In 2018, Bloomberg ranked Zell as the world's 397th richest person, with a fortune of US$4.4 billion. In October 2020, Zell had a net worth of $4.7 billion, according to Forbes.
Samuel Zell was born on September 28, 1941, in Chicago to a Jewish family. His parents, Ruchla and Berek Zielonka, were Jewish immigrants from Poland, where his father had been a successful grain trader. They emigrated to the United States with their young daughter, Leah, via Tokyo. Soon after arriving, his parents changed their first and last names, becoming Rochelle and Bernard Zell. They then moved from Seattle to the Albany Park neighborhood in Chicago where his father became a jewelry wholesaler. When he was twelve, the family moved to Highland Park, Illinois, where he graduated from Highland Park High School. In 1963, Sam graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, where he was also a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.
While in school, Zell entered the real estate business where he managed a 15-unit apartment building in return for free room-and-board and was soon managing the owner's other properties. By his graduation, that venture was netting $150,000. Joined by his fraternity brother Robert H. Lurie, he won a contract with a large apartment development owner in Ann Arbor who was impressed with Zell's knowledge of what students wanted. By the time he graduated with a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1966, he and Lurie were managing over 4,000 apartments and owned 100-200 units outright. After school, he sold his interest in the management company to Lurie and moved to Chicago.
After graduation, Zell worked as a lawyer for one week before deciding that the legal profession was not for him. One of the senior partners who admired Zell's zeal for business decided to invest with him, enabling Zell to purchase an apartment building in Toledo. Zell also purchased several apartment buildings in Reno, Nevada, including Arlington Towers. In 1968, Zell founded the predecessor of Equity Group Investments and was joined a year later by his former partner, Robert H. Lurie. Together, they went on to grow the small firm into a vast enterprise, until Lurie's death in 1990.
Zell affiliates owned the Schwinn Bicycle Company, the drugstore Revco, department store chain Broadway Stores, energy company Santa Fe Energy Resources and mattress company Sealy. In 1985, Zell took over Itel Corporation.
Between 1992 and 1999, Zell's Chillmark fund owned Jacor Communications, Inc., a successful radio broadcast group that included a television station. The company was sold to Clear Channel Communications in 1999. On April 2, 2007, the Tribune Company announced its acceptance of Zell's offer to sponsor the going-private transaction of Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the company's other media assets. On December 20, 2007, Zell took the company private, and the following day he became the Chairman and CEO. He sold the Chicago Cubs and the company's 25 percent interest in Comcast SportsNet Chicago. Under the burden of the debt incurred as part of Zell's leveraged buyout and in context of the unexpected severity of the Great Recession, the Tribune Co. filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in December 2008.
In 2006, the Blackstone Group announced the purchase of Equity Office for $36 billion, which was the largest leveraged buyout in history at the time. Blackstone then sold many of the portfolio's properties for record amounts. By early 2009, most of the properties sold were "under water" (worth less than the mortgage).
In January 2008, Zell bought a controlling share in the Tribune Company, owner of the Chicago Tribune, among other newspapers. His decision to put Randy Michaels in charge was one of several moves that were sharply criticized by the employees. Besides creating a hostile workplace, Michaels laid off several employees while giving large bonuses to the executives. Less than a year after Zell bought the company, it tipped into bankruptcy, listing $7.6 billion in assets against a debt of $13 billion, making it the largest bankruptcy in the history of the American media industry. More than 4,200 people have lost jobs since the purchase, while resources for the Tribune newspapers and television stations have been slashed."
Zell is known for using "salty" language in the newsroom. In February 2008, the website LA Observed reprinted an internal memo that said:
In 2008, Zell confirmed a plan to place the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field up for sale separately in order to maximize profits. He also announced he would consider selling naming rights to Wrigley Field. These announcements were widely unpopular in Chicago and a poll taken by the Chicago Sun-Times showed that 53% of 2,000 people who voted said they would no longer attend Cubs games if the field were renamed.
In 2010, The New York Times ran a highly damaging article about Zell's and new top executive Randy Michael's management of The Tribune Co. entitled "At Flagging Tribune, Tales of a Bankrupt Culture." The report details a culture promoting sexual harassment and debasement, with executives openly discussing the "sexual suitability" of employees in the office and a tight circle of executives who were earning tens of millions of dollars in bonuses despite being deep in bankruptcy and a failure to stem declining profits.
Zell donated $100,000 to Restore Our Future, the Super PAC supporting the 2012 presidential election campaign of Mitt Romney. In 2015 he donated $50,000 to the John Bolton Super PAC.
In May 2017, Zell released his book, Am I Being Too Subtle?: Straight Talk From a Business Rebel. The book was published by Portfolio The book details his business philosophy on finding business and investment opportunities anywhere. The book explains to readers what his business turf is like by sharing honest and humorous stories on what he got right, wrong, and the lessons related to business.
In June 2018, at a conference organized by Nareit, Sam Zell stated "I don't think there's ever been a 'We gotta get more pussy on the block'" when explaining his views of female discrimination on the workplace.