Bernard Marcus

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Bernard Marcus
Bernard Marcus.jpg
Born (1929-05-12) May 12, 1929 (age 89)[1]
Newark, New Jersey
Residence Atlanta, Georgia
Citizenship United States
Education Rutgers University
Alma mater Rutgers University
Occupation Co-founder of Home Depot
Net worth IncreaseUS$3.5 billion (September 2015)[2]
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Spouse1
Billi Marcus
Children two with Spouse1:
--Fred Marcus
--Suzanne Marcus
stepson with Billi:
--Morris Marcus

Bernard "Bernie" Marcus (born May 12, 1929) is an American businessman and philanthropist. He co-founded Home Depot and was the company's first CEO; he served as Chairman of the Board until retiring in 2002.

Early life and education

Bernard Marcus was born to Russian Jewish immigrant parents in Newark, New Jersey.[3] He grew up in a tenement and graduated from South Side High School in 1947.[4] Marcus wanted to become a doctor but could not afford the tuition, so he worked for his father as a cabinet maker through Rutgers University to earn a pharmacy degree.[3] While there he joined the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.[5] He was also a brother of Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity.


Later, Marcus worked at a drugstore as a pharmacist but became more interested in the retailing side of the business. He worked at a cosmetics company and various other retail jobs, eventually reaching a position as a top executive with Handy Dan Improvement Centers, a Los Angeles-based chain of home improvement stores. In 1978, after a disagreement with his boss at Handy Dan, he and Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank were both fired.[3] In 1979 - with the help of New York investment banker Ken Langone who assembled a group of investors - in addition to his business partner Arthur Blank, they launched the highly successful home-improvement retailer The Home Depot. The store revolutionized the home improvement business with its warehouse concept. Blank, Marcus, and Langone became billionaires. Marcus served as the company's first CEO for 19 years and also served as chairman of the board until his retirement in 2002.[3] Mr. Marcus was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2006.

Marcus has opposed the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). He has also suggested that clients send donations to groups and Senate Republicans also against the EFCA. He views the legislation as hindrance to American capitalism, calling it "the demise of a civilization" and suggesting that any retailer who does not fight it "should be shot; should be thrown out of their goddamn jobs." [6][7][8][9] Marcus has also been an opponent of the Occupy Wall Street movement.[10] In 2015, Marcus donated $1.5 million to Super PACs supporting Jeb Bush and Scott Walker.[11]


Marcus co-founded the Israel Democracy Institute in 1991, contributing $5 million for the construction of the institute’s building in Jerusalem’s Talbiya neighborhood and investing hundreds of millions of shekels in its ongoing operation over the years.[12] He heavily contributed to the launch of the Georgia Aquarium, which opened in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, in 2005.[13] Based mostly on the US$250M million donation for the Aquarium, Marcus and his wife, Billi, were listed among the top charitable donors in the country by The Chronicle of Philanthropy in 2005. Marcus also funded and founded The Marcus Institute, a center of excellence for the provision of comprehensive services for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. In May 2005, Marcus was awarded the Others Award by the Salvation Army, its highest honor.[3] Marcus donated $25 million to Autism Speaks to spearhead its efforts to raise money for research on the causes and cure for autism. He is an active member of the board of directors.[14]

Marcus is currently chairman of the Marcus Foundation, whose focuses include children, medical research, free enterprise, Jewish causes and the community.[15] Marcus is on the Board of Directors and an active volunteer for the Shepherd Center.[16] His main focus is in providing care for war veterans with traumatic brain injuries.[17] He was named a Georgia Trustee in 2009. The award is given by the Georgia Historical Society, in conjunction with the Governor of Georgia, to individuals whose accomplishments and community service reflect the ideals of the founding body of Trustees, which governed the Georgia colony from 1732 to 1752.[18] In 2012, Marcus was awarded the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership.[19][20]

Personal life

Marcus has been married twice. He has two children with his first wife, Fred and Suzanne; and a stepson, Michael, with his second wife, Billi.[21]


  1. "Marcus, Bernie".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Hall of Fame Biographies: Arthur Blank and Bernard Marcus". World Retail Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2009-05-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. The Ultimate New Jersey High School Year Book
  5. "Well-known alumni". Alpha Epsilon Pi. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Home Depot Founder: Retailers Who Don't Support GOP "Should Be Shot"". Huffington Post. 2008-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Pope, Carl (April 4, 2009). "Europhobia". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-05-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Frank, Thomas (November 18, 2008). "It's Time to Give Voters the Liberalism They Want". The Wall Street Journal Opinion-Journal. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-05-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Stein, Sam (January 27, 2009). "Bailout Recipients Hosted Call To Defeat Key Labor Bill". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-05-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Abelson, Max (9 December 2011). "Bankers Join Billionaires to Debunk 'Imbecile' Attack on Top 1%". Bloomberg. Retrieved 29 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Million-Dollar Donors in the 2016 Presidential Race". New York Times. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Sadeh, Shuki (17 March 2013). "How foreign donors reshaped Israel: A who's who". Haaretz. Retrieved 30 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Tharpe, Jim (May 29, 2005). Bernie Marcus makes mark with Georgia Aquarium The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  14., 2013 Bernie Marcus' Philanthropic Profile
  15. Wolfe, Josh (January 4, 2007). "Nano Talk With Bernie Marcus". Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report. Forbes. Retrieved 2009-05-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Shepherd Center, Donor Profile: Bernie Marcus". Retrieved 2010-12-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Miller, T. Christian (December 21, 2010). "Philanthropist Provides Care That The Pentagon Won't". N.P.R. N.P.R. Retrieved 2010-12-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Governor and Georgia Historical Society to Name First New Georgia Trustees in 260 Years". Savannah Daily News. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "The Philanthropy Roundtable announces Bernie Marcus as the 2012 recipient of the William E. Simon Prize". Retrieved 30 April 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Jonathan V. Last. "Do It Yourself".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Reference for Business: "Bernie Marcus" retrieved March 30, 2014
Business positions
Preceded by
CEO of Home Depot
Succeeded by
Arthur Blank