You’re likely to know Nelson Peltz as an American entrepreneur and investor. Throughout his long and illustrious career, Peltz has assumed a number of roles, but is most noted as the founding Partner of Trian Fund Management, an investment management fund, and as the non-executive chairman of Wendy’s Company. Past positions have included Director of H.J. Heinz Company, and former chief executive officer of Triangle Industries. Read on to learn more about the life and career of the celebrated billionaire.
1. Early Life
Peltz was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1942. Peltz studied at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he became a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Nelson dropped out of college before completing his degree, with the aim of moving to Oregon to become a ski instructor.
2. Joining the Family Firm
After leaving University, Nelson quickly abandoned his intentions of becoming a ski instructor in favor of joining his family firm, A. Peltz & Sons, a wholesale food distribution business started by his grandfather, Adolph. His first position was as a delivery truck driver, however, over the next 15 years, Peltz assumed a leadership role within the company. With the help of his older brother, Robert, Norman grew the business by forcing a change of direction away for produce and towards frozen foods.
3. Taking It Public
In 1972, Peltz saw his first big success when he and Robert took the family business, by then called Flagstaff Corp, public. At that point, the business had accrued over $150 million in profit.
4. Continued Business Success
Throughout the 1980’s and ’90’s, Nelson and business partner, Peter May, went on an acquisition mission, buying up new companies and investing significantly in others. In 2005, the pair, alongside Ed Garden, founded Trian Fund Management, an activist investing firm. Trian’s most notable investments have been with companies such as Heinz, PepsiCo inc, Cadbury, Kraft Food, Wendy’s, Dupont and Family Dollar.
5. A Temporary Setback
In October 2017, Nelson suffered a rare setback when he failed to acquire a seat on the board of Procter & Gamble. However, the setback was temporary – a month later, it was discovered that Peltz had in fact won the proxy battle for a seat, and in December, he was named to the board. The following year, Peltz took his place on the Board of Directors for Procter & Gamble.
6. A New Role with Aurora Cannabis
In March 2019, Nelson was named the new strategic adviser to Canadian cannabis producer, Aurora Cannabis. Peltz, who has been granted a 20% share option of the company at C$10.34 per share, will advise the group on its global acquisition and partnership strategy.
7. Personal Life
The billionaire has walked down the aisle on three occasions. His third and current wife is former model Claudia Heffner. Heffner and Nelson have 8 children, while Peltz also has 2 older children from previous marriages. Among Peltz’s children are professional Ice Hockey player, Brad Peltz, and actors, Nicola and Will Peltz.
8. Awards and Recognition
Peltz achieved recognition by the NACD as one of the most influential people in global business governance for 3 consecutive years (2010, 2011 and 2012). In February 2014, Nelson also achieved the honor of being named 16th in Forbes’ list of the 25 highest earning Fund Managers of 2013, with total earnings of $420 million.
9. Philanthropy, Politics and Wealth
Peltz is known as a generous contributor to Jewish causes. In 2005, he showed his political leanings when he was named as one of the 53 contributors that donated the maximum fund of $250,000 to George W. Bush’s second inauguration. While $250000 may seem a significant amount to most of us, it’s unlikely to have made much of a dent in Peltz’s finances- according to Forbes Magazine, the businessman has a net worth of 1.51 billion, making him the 432nd richest person across America.
10. Multiple Homes
Peltz is currently a resident of Bedford, New York. He also spends time at Montsorrel, his home in Palm Beach. The property was previously owned by sister of acclaimed American artist, Georgia O’ Keefe. Despite spending only a fraction of the year at the Florida base, Peltz (never one to shy away from an investment opportunity) began a substantial refurbishment and expansion project on the property in 2015.