John Edward Anderson
Net Worth: $600 million
Source of Wealth: Law and Beverage Distribution
Residence: Bel Air
John Anderson has held many jobs, from Western Union messenger to corporate attorney. But he made his fortune in beer and soda pop.
A Harvard MBA who went to law school at night, Anderson co-founded the law firm of Kindel & Anderson in 1953. It was that connection that first brought him into the world of distributorships.
About 25 years ago, Anderson founded Ace Beverage Co. to distribute beer and soft drinks. The revenues from Ace enabled Anderson to buy more companies, building a business empire under the umbrella of Century City-based Topa Equities Ltd.
Topa is a holding company for 38 subsidiaries, including banks, insurance companies, and of course distributorships. One of Topa’s holdings is downtown L.A.-based First Business Bank.
In years to come, Anderson will perhaps be best known as a UCLA benefactor. The UCLA John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management was named in his honor in recognition of the $15 million he gave to the school in 1987.
Anderson came to Los Angeles from his hometown of Minneapolis on an ice hockey scholarship at UCLA. Attending college also helped mold Anderson’s work ethic he had to support himself by working the swing shift at North American Aviation in Inglewood.
That work ethic still holds true today.
Anderson, who will turn 80 in September, keeps up a rigorous work schedule. He begins each day with 7 a.m. breakfast meetings, and won’t leave the office for another 12 hours, a spokesman said.
Joe Bel Brun