Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# Steven Udvar-Hazy

Random fact: Started Astro Air airline when he was 19.

Overview

Udvar-Hazy is the chairman of Air Lease, a publicly traded provider of aircraft to commercial airlines. The Los Angeles-based company owns and manages more than 250 aircraft as of May 2017, and has 386 on order. The billionaire previously ran International Lease Finance, which he sold to insurer AIG for $1.3 billion in 1990.

As of Jan. 21, 2018:
Last change ()
YTD change ()
Industry Airlines
Biggest asset N/A
Citizenship United States
Age 70
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

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Latest News

Net Worth Summary

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Biography

Birthdate: 2/23/1946
Family: Married, 4 children
Education: 1968, University of California, Bachelor's Degree, Economics

Steven Ferencz Udvar-Hazy was born in Budapest on Feb. 23, 1946, the younger son of textile designers Erno and Etel Udvar-Hazy. The family fled Eastern Europe, going first to Stockholm before arriving in New York. They moved to the West Coast after Udvar-Hazy's older brother, Andrew, won a scholarship to UCLA, according to a profile on the Udvar-Hazy School of Business website.

The billionaire studied economics and international business at UCLA. While an undergraduate, he completed his first airplane deal after persuading Air New Zealand to let him sell a Lockheed Electra plane that the carrier wanted to dispose of. He founded Interlease Group with classmate Louis Gonda and his father, Leslie, a real estate developer, after graduating in 1968. They renamed the business International Lease Finance Corp., or ILFC, and sold shares in a public offering in 1983. Insurer AIG bought ILFC seven years later for $1.3 billion, keeping Udvar-Hazy as chief executive officer.

Known for his pranks -- including pushing then-Airbus COO Noel Forgeard into a swimming pool in 1996 -- Udvar-Hazy became one of the industry's most influential figures, successfully pushing for changes in the design of the Airbus A350. The U.S. government's bailout of AIG in 2008 prompted Udvar-Hazy to chafe against the insurance giant's cost-cutting measures, according to an October 2012 Bloomberg News profile.

He left ILFC in February 2010 to run Air Lease, which began trading on the New York Stock Exchange the following year. He was sued by AIG in 2012, which accused him of stealing ILFC trade secrets. Air Lease and Udvar-Hazy have denied the charges. The billionaire has signed airliner orders with Boeing that have a list value of $5.8 billion and, in July 2014, bought 85 Airbus jets at the U.K.'s Farnborough International Airshow.

He lives with wife Christine in Los Angeles.

Milestones
  • 1946 Steven Udvar-Hazy is born in Budapest, the son of Erno and Etel Udvar-Hazy.
  • 1958 Family flees Hungary, travelling to Stockholm and then the U.S.
  • 1967 Sells Air New Zealand plane will studying economics at UCLA.
  • 1973 Starts Interlease Group, later ILFC, with Leslie and Louis Gonda.
  • 1983 International Lease Finance has an initial public offering.
  • 1990 Insurer AIG buys ILFC for $1.3 billion. Stays on as chief executive officer.
  • 2008 U.S. government bails out AIG.
  • 2010 Retires from ILFC and starts Air Lease.
  • 2011 Initial public offering of Air Lease on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • 2012 AIG sues Air Lease alleging he stole trade secrets.