Billionaire without a billion: as the founder of Duty Free rid of their money

Cool summer afternoon train arrived from Limerick to Dublin. From the train left the old man gently and hobbled towards the turnstiles. In one hand he had a plastic bag with newspapers, the other he held on to the railing.

Few people paid attention to the 81-year old native of New Jersey Chuck Feeney, who, perhaps, has done for Ireland, more than anyone else from the time of St. Patrick. However, Fini quite satisfied, when he was not paying attention.

Billionaire without a billion: as the founder of Duty Free rid of their money

Chuck Feeney

He is the founder of Duty Free. Him 85 years, he has amassed a fortune of more than 7, 5 billion. It does not have a car, flies economy class, lives in a rented apartment. Chuck Feeney is electronic watch for 15 bucks and a crumpled shirt. In the historic homeland, Ireland, its easily be mistaken for an American tourist. Restaurants he prefers to snack, tailor - stores consumer goods, it uses the subway or taxi.

One could call him a miser, shaking over every penny, if not for the fact that over the past 30 years he gave to charity more than $ 6 billion. The money was spent on education, health, science, the content of nursing homes in the United States, Vietnam, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, Bermuda.

Tells the story of the rich man, who refuses their money and fame.

The history of the Duty Free

Billionaire without a billion: as the founder of Duty Free rid of their money

Feeny was born in the midst of the Great Depression in a family with Irish roots. During the Korean War he served in the Air Force. After the army received benefits for demobilized and enrolled at Cornell University Business School on a specialty "hotel management". After graduating from it in 1956, he went to continue his studies in France. Then established a business for the sale of duty-free alcohol seamen who served in the Atlantic Fleet of the US Navy. The competition was serious, but Fini has managed to become a leader: through military past it was easier to find common language with the crews and the local prostitutes, he received information about the next destination of the ships. In the companion Fini took Bob Miller, who, like him, graduated from Cornell. The range of products expanded to include cars, perfume and jewelry, which are in demand by the military and leisure travelers. To put the joint management of the business on a professional basis, Fini and Miller took a share Toni Pilar - a lawyer specializing in tax law, and accountant Alan Parker.

By 1964, the network of Duty Free Shoppers already covers 27 countries, 200 people working in it.

Turn this profitable, but a small business in one of the most profitable retailers in the world to help the economic boom in Japan. In 1964, when Tokyo was held summer Olympics, the Japanese government lifted restrictions on travel abroad, which were introduced after the Second World War, for the sake of saving the currency. And the Japanese have accumulated a lot of money over the years, rushed to travel the world.

Veteran Air Force, Fini understood a little Japanese and versed in the customs and habits of the inhabitants of the rising sun. Soon among sellers Duty Free Shoppers were pretty savvy Japanese. But the shelves were packed with cognac, cigarettes and leather bags: awe related to gifts Japanese eagerly buying them as souvenirs.

It was a real gold mine, Feeney and even hired analysts to forecast them tourists itineraries. Since DFS shops appeared in Anchorage, San Francisco and Guam. Another favorite place to visit was the Japanese Saipan - a tiny tropical island in a few hours fly from Japan. Intuition told Fini that the island has become a popular beach resort for Tokyo people. If not for one problem: it was not the airport. In 1976, DFS has allocated $ 5 million for its construction. Such an aggressive strategy enabled the company to enjoy the fruits of the Japanese economic miracle. In 1967, Feeney received $ 12,000 of dividends in 1977 - $ 12 million, says O'Kleri. After 10 years in the accounts of an entrepreneur it has been almost $ 334 million. For the money subsequently acquired hotels, shops, garment factories, and then technology startups. Fini, as before, wanted to remain in the shadows, behaved modestly, but hide such an impressive capital was already very difficult.

In 1988, Forbes room with a rating of 400 richest Americans left quad material on DFS. Reporters Andrew Tanzer and Mark Beauchamp discovered the secret of the success of the network and to acquaint the reader with its four owners - owners of an impressive state. Article and the subsequent response Fini plunged into shock. O'Kleri in his book will devote an entire chapter to this episode.

The authors shed light on the DFS business: tell about it, "Japan" strategy, 200% surcharge, a 20% profitability, the huge annual revenue - about $ 1, 6 billion, Forbes estimated that 1 sq. Km. m in stores in Hawaii brings in excess of $ 200,000 per year. This is equivalent to more than $ 400,000 today that more than seven times the average revenue per Apple 1Q. m of retail space.

Forbes journalists made two mistakes: First, the state of Fini was actually so much more. Secondly, it was no longer a state Fini.

Only the near environment of the entrepreneur knew that he personally owned the strength of a few million dollars. At Fini did not even own cars. His people were thinking at first hard to secretly meet with Malcolm Forbes and explain what was happening, but then gave up. Forbes included Fini in the rating of the richest Americans until 1996. Feeney transferred all of its assets in the Atlantic Philanthropies (through the Bahamas - to minimize tax). He continued to develop the DFS, driving around the world, conquering new markets and finding new ways to improve profitability and to outdo competitors. Fini has always liked to make money, although the funds it was enough since that time they had appeared. An elderly businessman is able to enjoy simple things. He grew up in a modest hard-working family, his parents are constantly helping other people. His mother, Madeline, who worked as a nurse, to bring up every morning to the bus stop a disabled neighbor.

Billionaire without a billion: as the founder of Duty Free rid of their money

A philanthropist with a capital letter

On account of Chuck Feeney's many achievements in the field of charity. He built the airport on the island Seypan, giving $ 5 million. One of the best of its achievements is the construction of the University of Limerick, which is the best in Ireland.

"Do not wait for old age to begin to donate their money. Better start doing it as soon as possible, as long as there is strength and power to change the world for the better "- said Fini.

Bill Gates called Chuck the perfect role model, noting that it is the best example of how to do good in life.

By 2020, the philanthropist and businessman is going to fully spend their acquired status. One-third of the shares of the company Duty Free Shoppers (his entire package), he passed into the possession of his charitable foundation The Atlantic Philanthropies. Remaining in the fund of $ 1, 3 billion to be spent by 2016. In 2020 the fund will cease operations. While shark business in every possible way try to increase his fortune, Fini with triple energy every effort is made to die penniless.