Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# Leandro Rizzuto

Random fact: Started company with $100 of capital in the family's Brooklyn garage.


Rizzuto was founder and chairman of Conair Corporation, which manufactures and sells haircare and kitchen appliances, and other home and beauty products. The closely held, Stamford, Connecticut-based company had revenue of $3 billion in 2016. He also owned the CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa and Temenos Resort in Anguilla.

As of April 21, 2018:
Last change ()
YTD change ()
Industry Consumer
Biggest asset N/A
Citizenship United States
Age 78
Wealth Self-made
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Relative Value

Leandro Rizzuto's net worth of can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

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Net Worth Summary

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Birthdate: 1938
Family: Unknown, No children

Leandro "Lee" Rizzuto was born in Brooklyn in 1938, the son of Julian and Josephine Rizzo Rizzuto, Sicilian immigrants and hairdressers who ran a large hair salon in Manhattan. When Lee Rizzuto was 21, he and his parents founded a company selling hair products his father had invented, such as the pin curl clip and hair roller.

In the late 1960s, the company, Continental Hair Products -- later shortened to Conair -- was selling its own curling irons, hot combs and pistol-grip hairdryers. Traditionally a perk of only the professional hairdresser, their business was among the first to sell hairdryers to the mass market.

By the mid-1970s, the company had sold stock in a public offering and was the world's largest manufacturer of hairdryers. It also began to expand into other personal care products, such as electric curling irons lighted mirrors and even kitchen appliances, after a $17.7 million purchase of Cuisinart. Rizzuto arranged a leveraged buyout of Conair in 1985, acquiring all the shares he didn't own for $169 million, financing the purchase by selling junk bonds.

Over the next decade, Conair expanded abroad, acquiring international brands such as Babyliss and selling products in Europe and Asia. In addition to Conair, Rizzuto also owned the 300-acre Cuisinart Golf Resort and Spa in Anguilla, the Caribbean. The billionaire remained chairman of Conair which is based in Stamford, Connecticut, until his death on Dec. 4, 2017. His four children, Babe, Suzie, Lee Jr. and Denis, are all involved with the family business.

  • 1959 Continental Hair Products is founded by Julian Rizzuto and son, Leandro.
  • 1972 Conair's iconic Yellowbird hair dryer is introduced.
  • 1972 Company sells stock in an initial public offering.
  • 1985 Rizzuto takes Conair private in a leveraged buyout, and becomes sole owner.
  • 1989 Acquires bankrupt food-processer maker, Cuisinart, for $17.7 million.
  • 1995 Buys European haircare rival, BaByliss
  • 2002 Pleads guilty to tax evasion in federal court.
  • 2009 International market grows to 100 countries, generating 31 percent of sales.