Born to a Greek father and Lebanese mother as his brother Tom (also featured in this edition), in Nazareth, Israel, Alec Gores, 64, and his family moved to Genesee, MI when he was a teenager.
“My father was willing to give up literally everything he had [in Israel] and pack his bags and bring us here,” Gores told Forbes in October, 2016. “He did it for the kids, to make sure we have a better future.”
The elder Gores, Charlie, emphasized hard work and an appreciating for the opportunities the United States presented, his son told Forbes. “The day we landed in America, my dad sat us down and he said, ‘This is your new country. You have to respect it. You have to embrace it’,” Gores remembers. His dad added: “You’ve got to work hard, and you can do anything you want in this country.”
Today, Gores heads the Beverly Hills-based private equity firm The Gores Group, which has $2.5 billion in assets.
After graduating from Western Michigan University with a degree in computers, he founded Executive Business Systems in 1978, for $10,000, and was selling computers out of his basement. His father “gave me his last $8,000 and had me go buy a demo machine,” Gores told Forbes. “That’s what I needed to start the business.” He grew the company tremendously, and sold it in 1986 to Contel for approximately $2 million.
In 2016, he joined C. Dean Metropulos, also featured in this edition, to take the food snack giant Hostess public.
Gores famously lost over $17 million in a three-day backgammon series to fellow billionaire JP McManus in 2012, the Independent reported, and Gores promptly “paid up like a gent.”
In July, the Gores Group added jukebox maker AMI Entertainment to its acquisitions.
Father to five children, Gores is married to Kelly Noonan.