Alfred A. Checchi
Net Worth: $590 million
Source of Wealth: Leveraged buyouts
Residence: Beverly Hills
If Richard Riordan can make the switch from businessman to politician, Alfred A. Checchi figures he can, too.
But Checchi’s ambitions go beyond L.A. Last month he resigned as co-chairman of Northwest Airlines Inc. to consider running for governor on the Democratic ticket.
The 48-year-old Boston native, whose wealth is conservatively estimated at $590 million, may find the political waters a little chilly. He is hardly a household name, and he has acknowledged failing to vote in recent elections.
Checchi earned his M.B.A. from Harvard School of Business in 1974 before joining Marriott Corp., where he worked for eight years, rising to the post of treasurer. He then was a principal of the Fort Worth, Texas-based Bass Brothers Enterprises investment group, where he led the group’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Walt Disney Co. a deal that brought Checchi to California.
Since Checchi and partner Gary Wilson led a small group of investors including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in the $3.65 billion leveraged buyout of Northwest eight years ago, the airline has weathered several rough years and a near-bankruptcy, but has reported record profits in recent years.
Checchi used to split his time between Los Angeles and St. Paul, Minn., where Northwest is based, but now lives in L.A. full-time.
Checchi has said that, even if his gubernatorial run is not successful, he won’t return to the co-chairmanship of Northwest, but will hold onto his 10 percent stake in the airline. And most likely stay in L.A.