Sam Zell is an American businessman who is the founder and the chairman of the Equity International, a private equity firm that focuses on real-estate investments. Sam also has investments in other sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, energy, and healthcare businesses. He holds interests in many public countries in the New York Stock Exchange including Equity Lifestyle Properties, Equity Residential, and Covanta Holding Corp. He is also the chairman and founder of Equity Group Investments. Let us have a brief look at the life, career, and net worth of Sam Zell in 2020.
Early Life & Biography
Sam Zell was born as Shmuel Zielonka on September 27, 1941, in Chicago, Illinois, the United States to Jewish parents Berek Zielonka and Ruchla. His family moved from Poland to the United States before the German Invasion of Poland and changed their names to Bernard Zell and Rochelle.
Sam attended the Highland Park High School and later joined the University of Michigan pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree. Zell became the manager of a 15-unit apartment in return for a rent-free room when he was at school and soon started to manage more than 4000 apartments along with his fraternity brother Robert H. Lurie.
Sam Zell has been married thrice, and his first two marriages ended up in a divorce. The names of his first two wives are not available. He has a son and a daughter from his first marriage and an adopted daughter from his second marriage. He is currently married to Helen Fadim Zell.
Career, Awards & Nominations
Sam initially purchased some apartments and buildings in Toledo, Reno, and Nevada and in 1968 he formed a company which was joined by Lurie a year later. The two worked hard and developed the small company into a large firm which later became the Equity Group Investments.
He then founded Equity Residential, Equity Office Properties Trust and Equity Lifestyle and Zell became the father of modern real estate industry. He started to invest in many other companies and in 2006 he sold his Equity Office Properties Trust to Blackstone Group for $36 billion.
In 2007, he became the chairman of Tribune Company, and in 2008 he bought its controlling shares. He currently holds interests in several other companies that operate in the sectors such as energy, healthcare, communication, and lifestyle. Zell’s Equity Residential was the largest apartment owner in the United States.
Net Worth & Earnings
The Forbes placed him at 114 in its 2017 list of richest Americans and 324th in the world billionaires list. In 2015, his Equity Residential was worth around $28 billion, and his net worth in January 2018 was $5 billion. He spends 1200 hours of a year on his private jet, and his current net worth is $6 billion.
Sam Zell and his wife Helen are well known for their philanthropic activities focusing prominently on education. He has funded many educational institutions in the US and has also donated huge amounts for the development of education in Israel.