Kapos: Griffin’s billionaire status rises; Zell, Bluhm get dinged

SHARE Kapos: Griffin’s billionaire status rises; Zell, Bluhm get dinged
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Billionaire Ken Griffin is the wealthiest Illinoisan and ranked 57th in the Forbes 400 for 2016.

Forbes has released its list of the richest people in America and Chicago businessman Ken Griffin is tops among 14 Illinois residents on the list. He ranked 57th with $7.5 billion net worth. That’s up from last year, when he had a net worth of $7 billion.

Bill Gates is first with an $80 billion net worth. And GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump ranks 156th with $3.7 billion, down $800 million from last year, according to Forbes.

Trump wasn’t the only one having a bad year. Chicago real estate moguls Sam Zell and Neil Bluhm remain on the list of richest Americans but saw their net worth dip, a sign of the challenges in real estate and an economy that’s still struggling in some areas. Zell clocked in at $4.7 billion this year, down from $4.9 billion last year. And Bluhm is listed at $3.2 billion, down from $3.5 billion.

Forbes says the country’s 400 richest Americans have a combined net worth of $2.4 trillion and an average net worth of $6 billion, “both record highs.”

The minimum net worth to be on the list is $1.7 billion, the same as it was a year ago. A record 153 billionaires didn’t make the cut, including Jerry Reinsdorf, Nicholas Pritzker II and Michael Krasny from Illinois.

Here are the 14 Illinois residents on Forbes’ list of 400 richest Americans:

(rank, name, company, net-worth)

  • 57. Ken Griffin, Citadel, $7.5 billion
  • 117. Sam Zell, Equity Group Investments, $4.7 billion
  • 190. J.B. Pritzker, Pritzker Group, $3.4 billion
  • 204. Neil Bluhm, JMB Realty/casinos, $3.2 billion
  • 214. Thomas Pritzker, Hyatt Hotels, $3.1 billion
  • 274. Ty Warner, Beanie Baby maker Ty Inc., $2.5 billion
  • 290. Gigi Pritzker, OddLot Entertainment, $2.4 billion
  • 290. Penny Pritzker, secretary of commerce, $2.4 billion
  • 290. Patrick Ryan, Ryan Specialty Group, $2.4 billion
  • 290. Mark Walter, Guggenheim Partners, $2.4 billion
  • 321. Joe Mansueto, Morningstar, $2.2 billion
  • 335. Joseph Grendys, Koch Foods, $2.1 billion
  • 374. Eric Lefkofsky, chairman of Groupon, $1.8 billion
  • 374. Jennifer Pritzker, Tawani Enterprises. $1.8 billion

Daley nephew Peter Thompson pivots in business

Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson has been named a top executive at InnerWorkings, a publicly traded marketing firm based in Chicago and co-founded by Chicago billionaire Eric Lefkofsky.

As chief commercial officer, Thompson will lead the company’s global sales and marketing efforts.

It’s a big change for Thompson after working 25 years in the financial services world, but he says he’s eager for the challenge. “It’s good to be stretching my professional legs. I’m really excited about helping lead the growth of the company with sales,” he told me.

A nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, Thompson is a notable businessman around town having previously served as CEO of Perkins Investment Management, a company that grew from $8.9 billion to $22 billion. He left that company a year and a half ago and worked on his own as a consultant. It was rewarding but he missed working with a team, he says.

InnerWorkings CEO Eric Belcher praised Thompson for having “a successful track record of collaborating with CEOs and management teams across the Fortune 500.” InnerWorkings executes print, direct mail, indoor displays, signs and marketing initiatives for companies.

Thompson previously had top executive jobs at Chicago Asset Management Co. and Ariel Capital Management, where he helped build Ariel’s asset base from $2 billion to more than $21 billion, according to a release.

Thompson is a son of Patricia Daley Martino, she’s the oldest child of the late former Mayor Richard J. Daley and his wife, Eleanor “Sis” Daley. Thompson’s dad is the late William Paul Thompson, a developer whose father was a Chicago Police officer.

Thompson grew up next to his grandparents in Bridgeport and in the heart of the family business: government and politics.

As exciting as it was, he says, he wasn’t interested in making a career of politics. “I’m leaving that to my brother,” he said, referring to Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th).

Peter Thompson graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep, where he played basketball and came to know schoolmate Mellody Hobson, now president of Ariel Investments. She recruited him to work at Ariel after he graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island and earned an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Remembering the original London House

Lynda Silverman

Lynda Silverman

Life came full-circle for Lynda Silverman the other day at the Joffrey Ballet fundraiser held at LondonHouse Chicago on Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive.

The hotel’s name comes from the building’s original name: the London Guaranty and Accident Co. building that was home to London House jazz club, for which Silverman did promotional work.

“It was fun and overwhelming and inspiring,” recalled Silverman, who worked with all the top names in jazz back in the day including Ramsey Lewis and the late great pianists Oscar Peterson and George Shearing. The venue closed in the 1970s and is now home to a Corner Bakery.

Silverman marveled that she was back at LondonHouse for the Joffrey luncheon held in the Juliette Grand Ballroom — appropriate as the event kicked off the Joffrey’s production of “Romeo & Juliet.”

Read more Taking Names at shiakapos.com.

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