This month, Forbes released its annual list of billionaires.
In total there were 2,668 billionaires worldwide. Seven of these people live in Ohio but today I wanted to look at the billionaire who lives in Columbus, Ohio.
The billionaire who lives in Columbus
Les Wexner has a net worth of $5.8 billion which makes him the richest person in Ohio.
Wexner was born in Dayton, in 1937 and attended Bexley High School in Columbus before attending Ohio State University, where he graduated in 1959 with a major in business administration.
Wexner's career started in retail, where he worked in his parent's clothing store.
At a young age he began analyzing the profitability of different clothing and saw that lower end items sold far quicker. A clothing store would become farmore profitable if it switched its focus to such items.
So Lex opened his own store called The Limited in August, 1963, in the Kingsdale Shopping Center in a suburb of Columbus. It proved a success and within six years, the company was made public when it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
In 1982 Wexner purchased Victoria's Secret for $ 1 million. Wexner rebranded the catalog and began using models to help sell the product and position it as an exclusive luxury brand. He even listed a fake business address in London to make it sound more exclusive even though the company's headquarters was in Columbus.
Over the years, Wexner has acquired and sold several brands, including Abercrombie and Fitch, Henri Bendel, and Lane Bryant. The Limited has since rebranded to Bath and Body Works, with Victoria's Secret now a separate business.
Wexner is a very wealth man but what is he doing to give back to the Columbus community? Let's take a quick look at his charitable donations.
In total, he has donated nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to institutions in the state.
In 1989, Wexner was the first person to make a $1 million personal donation to the United Way- an organization that "advances the common good in communities across the world."
He has also been a significant donor to educational advancement.
He was a major funder of the Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State University, named after Les' father. In 2011, Wexner donated $100 million to Ohio State for the university’s academic Medical Center and James Cancer Hospital, and Solove Research Institute. The donation was the largest in the university’s history.
Wexner and L Brands have also contributed $163.4 million to the Columbus Foundation through his businesses through his businesses.
Wexner has certainly made a great contribution to Columbus.
Readers, have any of you worked for Wexner or had any associations with him or his businesses? What was the experience like? Do you have any other suggestions on how he could help organizations in Columbus or Ohio?
Please leave your comments below.