Samuel "Sam" Zell (born September 1941) is a U.S. real estate entrepreneur. He is Chairman of Equity Group Investments, L.L.C. (EGI), the private, entrepreneurial investment firm he founded more than 40 years ago. EGI's investments span industries and continents, and include interests in real estate, energy, logistics, transportation, media, and health care.
Zell is also co-founder and Chairman of Equity International, a private investment firm that focuses on real estate-related companies outside of the U.S. In addition, Zell maintains substantial interests in, and is the Chairman of, a number of public companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange, including: Equity Residential (EQR), the largest apartment REIT; Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), a REIT that owns and operates manufactured home communities; Covanta Holding Corp. (CVA), an international leader in converting waste to energy; and Anixter (AXE), a value-add provider of integrated networking and cabling solutions that support business information and network infrastructure requirements. Zell is also the chairman of Tribune Company, a private media conglomerate.
Zell was born in Chicago in 1941 to Jewish immigrant parents from Poland who fled the country just before the Nazi invasion in 1939. Shortly after moving from Seattle to Chicago, Zell's father Bernard changed the family name from Zielonka to Zell. He received his BA (1963) from the University of Michigan, where he was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. He also received his JD (1966) from the University of Michigan Law School.