Leonard N. Stern

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Leonard Stern
Leonard Norman Stern

(1938-03-28) March 28, 1938 (age 81)
Alma materB.A. New York University
OccupationChairman and CEO of The Hartz Group
Net worth$4.8 billion (October 2018)[1]
Spouse(s)Judith Stern Peck (divorced)
Allison Maher

Leonard Norman Stern (born March 28, 1938)[2] is an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist.

He is the chairman and CEO of the privately owned Hartz Group based in New York City. The company's real estate portfolio was owned and operated under its Hartz Mountain Industries subsidiary company, of which he is also chairman and CEO.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Stern was born to a Jewish family,[4][5] the son of Hilda (née Lowenthal) and Max Stern.[5] Max Stern was the German-born vice-chairman of the board of trustees of Yeshiva University for whom its Stern College for Women was named. He had emigrated from Weimar Germany to the U.S. in the 1920s after his textile business proved unprofitable, bringing along 2,100 canaries from Germany to sell on the U.S. market. By selling caged birds, bird cages and other pet bird supplies to U.S. pet owners through Woolworth's stores over the next thirty years, Stern's father built up the family business: Hartz Mountain Corporation (HMC), also headquartered in Secaucus, NJ. HMC later grew to become the flagship subsidiary of The Hartz Group. The business was named after the Harz Mountains of Germany. Though Canaries originally come from the Canary Islands the Canaries in trade are the result of selective breeding by farms located at Harz.

In 1957, Stern graduated from New York University (NYU).


Stern initially inherited his wealth from his father. He gradually purchased his brother's and sister's share of the family business, Hartz Mountain, and by the early 1960s, exercised absolute control of Hartz Mountain Corporation (HMC). Hartz Mountain Corporation then began to capture the pet supply market that catered to both dog and cat owners and parakeet and canary owners.[6] By 1984, Hartz Mountain Corporation (HMC) controlled 75% to 90% of the U.S. market for most U.S. pet supply goods[citation needed]. Its pet supply business was estimated to be worth $400 million and was earning $40 million in annual profits.

Legal and image problems[edit]

According to the unsigned cover article, "Dynasty In Distress" in the February 9, 2004 issue of Business Week, Stern was "intensely engaged" as a board member of Rite Aid in the mid-to-late '90s when the drugstore chain admitted to overstating net income by $1 billion over two years.[7]

Stern was named in several class action suits[specify] in which investors claimed that he and other directors had breached their fiduciary duty to shareholders. A separate lawsuit, filed by Kevin Mann, the son of the original founder and former executive vice-president, alleged that Stern used his influence to increase shelf space in Rite Aid stores for Hartz's pet products at the expense of competitors. Rite Aid settled that suit in 1999 for $11 million.

Stern resigned from the board in late 2001. According to the article, he "brushes all of this aside: 'We saved that company from bankruptcy. We threw out the old management and brought in the new and set it on its turnaround' ".[7]


He was the founder in 1986 and is chairman of Homes for the Homeless.[citation needed] According to its website, it serves over 630 homeless families and over 1,200 homeless children each day at five separate sites across New York City.[8][failed verification]

Personal life[edit]

Stern has been married twice:[9]

  • Judith Stern Peck, is a family therapist and family business consultant in New York. They divorced in 1980[10] and she later remarried to Stephen M. Peck.[11] They had three children:[9][12]
    • Emanuel T. Stern ("Manny") (b. 1964) - runs the family's real estate business and known for losing a $1.3 billion deal to redevelop a sports and entertainment complex at New Jersey's Meadowlands Sports Complex.[9] In 1992, he married Elizabeth Egan in a service held at the Central Park Zoo.[13]
    • Edward J. Stern (b. 1966) - who ran the Canary Capital Partners LLC hedge fund and was the first fund manager to be charged by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for "fraudulent" late trading and market timing of mutual funds.[9] In 1991, he married Stephanie Beth Rein in a Jewish service at the New York Botanical Garden.[12]
    • Andrea C. Stern (b. 1968) - is a photographer.[9]
  • Allison Maher,[10] a former model and TV producer who grew up "dirt-poor" in Kentucky. They married in 1987. Allison is a trustee and vice-chairman of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the parent of the Bronx Zoo.[9]

He is listed by Forbes with a net worth of $4.8 billion, making him the 143rd richest person in the United States as of October 2018.[1]

New York University's business school is named after him.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Leonard Stern". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  2. ^ "World Who's who in Commerce and Industry - Google Books". Books.google.com. 1944-01-01. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
  3. ^ "Executive profile at Hartz Mountain website". Hartzmountain.com. Archived from the original on 2014-03-09. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
  4. ^ The Jerusalem Post: "The world's 50 Richest Jews: 41-50" September 7, 2010
  5. ^ a b Entrepreneurship: "Leonard Stern took over the family business Hartz Mountain Pet Company from his father in 1959. By the early 1980s, he had expanded the company's focus beyond pet foods to make it America's leading pet supply manufacturer and name brand" by Stacey Patton August 17, 2012
  6. ^ Patton, Stacey. "Leonard N. Stern." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 5, edited by R. Daniel Wadhwani. German Historical Institute. Last modified October 17, 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Dynasty in Distress". Business Week. Bloomberg. February 9, 2004. Archived from the original on 12 January 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  8. ^ "homesforthehomeless.com". homesforthehomeless.com. Archived from the original on 2008-12-19. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Business Week: "Dynasty In Distress" February 08, 2004
  10. ^ a b New York Magazine: "Back to the Niche" by John Taylor June 11, 1990
  11. ^ New York Times: "Paid Notice: Deaths PECK, STEPHEN M." April 01, 2004
  12. ^ a b New York Times: "Edward J. Stern Wed to Ms. Rein" June 07, 1991
  13. ^ New York Times: "VOWS; Elizabeth Egan and Emanuel Stern" By Lois Smith Brady June 28, 1992
  14. ^ "NYU Stern | NYU Stern School of Business | Full-time MBA, Part-time (Langone) MBA, Undergraduate, PhD, Executive MBA Business Programs". Stern.nyu.edu. Retrieved 2014-03-05.