Earlier this year, Forbes published its annual list of Forbes 400, which ranks the richest Americans by their net worths. The 400 richest Americans saw their combined wealth increase 40% over the last year to $4.5 trillion. Almost all are richer than last year.
Today, I will uncover the richest person in Columbus, Ohio.
According to Forbes Magazine, two billionaires on the Forbes 400 consider Ohio their home, and none is wealthier than Les Wexner, who lives in New Albany, Ohio, with a net worth of $5.9 billion. He is the 176th richest man in the country.
Who is Les Wexner?
Leslie Herbert Wexner is an American billionaire business executive, the founder and chairman emeritus of L Brands, and currently serves as Chairman Emeritus on its board of directors.
Leslie Wexner was born in Dayton, Ohio, on September 8, 1937, to parents Bella and Harry Louis Wexner. His father was born in Russia. His mother, a first-generation American, was born in Brooklyn.
Wexner began his retail career working in his family's clothing store "Leslie's." While working in his family's business, he made suggestions to his dad on improving the company, but his dad wasn't interested.
In 1963, Wexner borrowed $5000 from his aunt Ida and $5000 from a bank to start The Limited, which offered limited choices. He focused on selling inexpensive clothing and products that turned over fast and generated greater revenue. He continued to grow the business, took the company public in 1969, and acquired several companies.
In 1982, he made his biggest purchase by buying the lingerie business Victoria's Secret. Wexner paid $1 million for the brand, and in 1990 Victoria's Secret was worth $1 billion.
He acquired and built different companies in the coming years, such as Pink, Bath & Body Works, The White Barn Candle Company, and more.
Wexner and his wife Abigail live in a Georgian-inspired estate mansion in New Albany, 15 miles north of Columbus, that Wexner redeveloped in the 1990s.
Philanthropy and Influence
In 1989, Wexner and his mother, Bella, donated a $1 United Way. United Way inscribed their names in marble at United Way Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.
According to The Wexner Foundation, "Mr. Wexner is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; chairman of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Board and chairman of the Columbus Partnership. He is also a founding member and the first chair of The Ohio State University Foundation."
Wexner is a powerful political donor who hosted a fundraiser for Mit Romney and donated money to many Republican candidates. In 2018, Leslie H. Wexner left the Republican party, saying he was fed up with its antics.
If you had his money, what would you do with it?