Equity Group Investments Chairman Sam Zell Passes Away

The real estate investor and entrepreneur was 81.

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Equity Group Investments Chairman Sam Zell has passed away at the age of 81. Zell was also Chairman of Equity LifeStyle Properties, Equity Residential and Equity Commonwealth.  

“Sam’s insatiable intellectual curiosity and passion for deal making created some of the most dynamic companies in the public real estate industry,” said Mark J. Parrell, President and CEO of Equity Residential, in a release. “He was a generous philanthropist and an incredible mentor and friend and will be missed by all who were lucky enough to be part of his extraordinary world.”

David J. Neithercut was appointed Chairman effective immediately. Neithercut was CEO from 2006 to 2018 and has been a board member since 2006.

Equity Group Investments was founded in 1968 by Zell as a private investment firm with headquarters in Chicago. He was a founder of the National Multifamily Housing Council. Zell was also Chairman of Anixter International for 34 years. He was the Chair of Covanta Holding Corporation and Jacor Communications as well.

"Sam Zell was a titan of the multifamily industry and his memory will always be inextricably linked to success in both real estate and business," said NAA President & CEO Bob Pinnegar. "His pioneering spirit and friendship will be greatly missed throughout the industry, but his influence will continue to benefit many for years to come."