Gary L. Wilson
Net Worth: $510 million
Source of Wealth: Leveraged buyouts
Residence: Bel Air
In the long friendship and business partnership of Gary L. Wilson and Alfred A. Checchi, the latter has dominated the limelight.
But now with Checchi considering a run for governor and having given up the co-chairmanship of Northwest Airlines Inc. a company he and Wilson took over in a leveraged buyout in 1989 it might be time for Wilson to be a star.
Wilson, who has shared the leadership of Northwest for the last eight years, will now be the sole chairman of the St. Paul, Minn.-based airline the world’s fourth largest airline and the nation’s leading trans-Pacific carrier.
The Ohio native earned an M.B.A. at the Wharton Graduate School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania in 1963.
After serving as executive vice president of Manila-based Trans-Philippines Investment Corp., he worked for 11 years at Marriott Corp. in various executive positions, including executive vice president and chief financial officer.
As CFO, he was responsible for strategic planning, financial management and corporate development, as well as running Marriott’s in-flight catering division.
He then joined Walt Disney Co. in 1985 and served as executive vice president and chief financial officer until 1990. He remains a member of the company’s board of directors.
Wilson hired Checchi in 1975. The two later became partners in leveraged buyouts, which led to their lead role on the $3.65-billion buyout of Northwest eight years ago.
Wilson is also a board member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Foundation, a director at CB Commercial Real Estate Group Inc. and a trustee at Duke University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1962.
He spends most of his time in Los Angeles, where his $5.5-million Bel Air home is a stone’s throw from Checchi’s.