Sam Zell is a global, industry-agnostic entrepreneur and investor. He has a long track record of turning around troubled companies and assets, leading industry consolidations, and bringing companies to the public markets. His current investments are in logistics, health care, manufacturing, agribusiness, energy, and real estate.
Sam is the chairman of Equity Group Investments, the private investment firm he founded more than 50 years ago. He also chairs three companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange: Equity Residential, an apartment REIT; Equity LifeStyle Properties, a manufactured home community and resort REIT; and Equity Commonwealth, an office REIT.
Sam also founded and chaired Equity Office Properties Trust, which was the largest office REIT until its 2007 sale for $39 billion in the largest leveraged buyout at the time. In addition, he introduced the first Brazilian and Mexican real estate companies, respectively, to the New York Stock Exchange through Equity International, a private investment firm he founded to focus on real estate businesses in emerging markets.
Sam is an active philanthropist with a focus on entrepreneurial education. Through the Zell Family Foundation, he has led the sponsorship of several leading entrepreneurship programs, including the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, the Zell Fellows Program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and the Zell Entrepreneurship Program at Reichman University in Israel. The Zell Global Entrepreneurship Network (ZGEN) unites the students and alumni of these programs, providing connections, opportunities, mentorship, and support. Sam also sponsors the Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He holds a JD degree and a BA from the University of Michigan.
Sam was recognized in 2017 by Forbes as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds. That same year, Sam debuted his book, Am I Being Too Subtle? Straight Talk From a Business Rebel (Penguin Random House), in which he shares fundamentals and philosophies that made him a self-made billionaire.