Eric Smidt

Chief Executive and Chairman, Harbor Freight Tools USA Inc.

THE LATEST: Smidt’s company, which has more than 800 stores nationally, generated more than $4 billion in revenue and successfully refinanced a $2.2 billion loan in 2018. Away from the office, Smidt and his wife, Susan, gave $50 million to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center earlier this year — the largest gift in the center’s history — to create the Smidt Heart Institute for research and innovation in cardiology and cardiovascular surgery.

BACKGROUND: Smidt co-founded Calabasas-based discount tool retailer Harbor Freight as a 17-year-old in 1977 when he began transforming his father’s small phone-sales business into a mail-order tool business. He’s had 100% ownership of the company since 1999. Smidt was No. 21 on the Business Journal’s 2018 list of Wealthiest Angelenos with an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion.

WORTH NOTING: The Smidts help fund education initiatives that support trade training in public high schools through their annual $1 million Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, which is awarded to outstanding skilled trades teachers in public high schools nationwide.


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