Josh Harris
Man smiling while wearing a baseball cap featuring the Washington Commanders logo with sunglasses resting on top.
Harris in 2023
Born
Joshua Jordan Harris

December 1964 (age 59)
Education
Occupations
Employers
Organizations
Title
Board member of
Spouse
Marjorie Harris
(m. 1995)
Children5

Joshua Jordan Harris (born December 1964) is an American investor, sports team owner, and philanthropist. He is a co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management and managing partner of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, the NHL's New Jersey Devils, and the NFL's Washington Commanders. Harris is also a general partner of the English football club Crystal Palace and owns a minority stake in Joe Gibbs Racing. He has an estimated net worth of US$8 billion.

Harris was born and raised in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He graduated with a degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1986 before earning an MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS), working two years at the former investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert in between. He founded Apollo with Leon Black and Marc Rowan in 1990 and managed its daily operations until leaving in 2022 to focus on sports investments, commonly in partnership with David Blitzer.

Harris headed groups that acquired the 76ers in 2011, the Devils and the Prudential Center in 2013, and the Commanders and FedExField in 2023. Other companies founded include Harris Philanthropies with his wife Marjorie in 2014, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment with Blitzer in 2017, and the alternative assets firm 26North in 2022. Harris sits on the board of Mount Sinai Health System, Wharton, and HBS, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and formerly served as treasurer of the Allen-Stevenson School.

Early life and education

Harris was born in December 1964 in Chevy Chase, Maryland.[1][2] He grew up playing several sports and considers them as having developed his work ethic. He cited his favorite sport as wrestling after winning a summer camp tournament at the age of nine.[3] Harris enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences in 1982 after graduating from The Field School in Washington D.C..[2] He transferred to Penn's Wharton School of business as a freshman due to an affinity for statistics and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics in 1986.[2][4][5] Harris was also a collegiate wrestler for the Penn Quakers and is a member of Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternities.[2][3][6] He managed lemonade stands in Washington, D.C. in locations such as Farragut North station and the National Zoo during his freshman and sophomore summer vacations.[2][7]

Career

Private equity

See also: Apollo Global Management

The Solow Building in New York City, headquarters of Apollo Global Management

Harris moved to New York City in 1986 to work at the Wall Street investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert as a financial analyst in their mergers and acquisitions department, frequently clocking in over 100 hours a week.[3][8] He left after two years to attend Harvard Business School (HBS), where he graduated with an MBA in 1990 as a Baker Loeb Scholar, an honor given to the top 5% of the school's graduating class.[9] Drexel had filed for bankruptcy earlier that year due to illegal junk bond activity amid a recession, with Harris working at Blackstone for two months before leaving to establish the private equity firm Apollo Global Management with former Drexel partners Leon Black and Marc Rowan.[9] By 2004, he had led the acquisitions of companies such as Sirius Satellite Radio, WMC Mortgage, Pacer International, Nalco Water, and Borden.[10] Harris also led a $2 billion investment into the multinational chemical company LyondellBasell in 2008 before selling in November 2013 for a profit of $9.6 billion, one of the largest gains in private equity history.[11][12] In April 2009, Harris was ordered to pay $30 million in a settlement with Huntsman Corporation after Apollo was sued for backing out of a merger the previous year.[13] He was among several businessmen in 2017 that met with the Trump administration as advisors for their $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, with senior advisor Jared Kushner considering him for a potential White House job.[14][15]

In May 2021, Harris announced he was stepping down from his day-to-day responsibilities at Apollo after being passed over as CEO for Marc Rowan, with his large personal focus on sport investments also reportedly becoming a source of tension within the company.[16] The position had been made available after Leon Black announced he would be stepping down due to an investigation finding he had paid $158 million to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein between 2012 and 2017 for advice on taxes and estate planning.[17] He stepped down as senior managing director at Apollo in January 2022 and remained on their board of directors until his term ended in October 2022.[16][18] The same year, Black included Harris in a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit, alleging that he led a group within Apollo attempting to tarnish his reputation after his ties to Epstein were reported.[19] Harris denied the claims, with federal judge Paul Engelmayer dismissing the suit in June 2022 for lack of evidence.[20] Black would appeal before the dismissal was upheld in March 2023.[21] He founded the alternative asset firm 26North in September 2022, hiring former senior Centerbridge Partners and Goldman Sachs executives.[22][23] The firm held $9.5 billion in assets by the end of 2022.[22]

Harris is on the board of trustees of Mount Sinai Health System, Wharton, and Harvard Business School,[5][24] and serves on the Council on Foreign Relations.[25] He previously served on the Investor Advisory Committee on Financial Markets (IACFM) for the New York Federal Reserve,[26] as vice president and treasurer of the Allen-Stevenson School,[27] and on the boards of Berry Global,[28] Constellium,[29] LyondellBasell,[29] and the United States Olympic Committee.[25] HRS Management, his family office, bought a majority stake in gym operator US Fitness in June 2018.[30] The office was also the largest investor in The Hill, an American political newspaper, until selling to Nexstar Media Group in August 2021.[31] In July 2022, HRS formed a joint venture with Canvas Property Group to buy more than $1 billion worth of apartments.[32] In January 2022, Harris invested $10 million in Mosaic Development Partners, a Philadelphia-based real estate company.[33][34] He, alongside Mark Penn, James Tisch, and Thomas Peterffy, contributed to a $50 million startup fund in The Messenger, an American news website launched by the former owner of The Hill in May 2023.[35][36]

Sports

See also: Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment

Harris is co-managing partner of the Philadelphia 76ers (above, blue) and the New Jersey Devils (below).

Harris began contemplating investing in sports after meeting senior Blackstone executive David Blitzer in 2008 at The Punchbowl, a public house in London.[37][38] Those talks led to the pair forming an investment group that bought the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from Comcast Spectacor for $280 million in 2011.[39] Other initial members of the group included Art Wrubel, Jason Levien, Adam Aron, Martin Geller, David Heller, James Lassiter, Marc Leder, Michael Rubin, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Erick Thohir.[40][41] Harris presided over an era in 76ers history known as "The Process", in which the team tanked for better NBA draft lottery odds.[42][43] Agreeing to a plan formed by general manager Sam Hinkie, the 76ers went 19–63 during the 2013–14 season, 18–64 in 2014–15, and 10–72 in 2015–16, the latter being the third-worst record in NBA history.[34] The Process was unpopular with NBA executives and team owners, who lobbied league commissioner Adam Silver to step in due to the 76ers' poor performance affecting league revenue sharing.[44][45] Harris would eventually agree to a suggestion by Silver to hire Jerry Colangelo, former owner of the Phoenix Suns, as team chairman in December 2015, which led to Hinkie stepping down in April 2016.[44][46] The Process led to the 76ers drafting future NBA MVP Joel Embiid, with the team having made five straight postseason appearances starting with the 2017–18 season.[34] The 76ers were valuated at $4.13 billion by Sportico in 2023.[47]

In 2013, Harris and Blitzer bought the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL) and their arena, the Prudential Center, from Jeff Vanderbeek for $320 million.[48] The franchise was valuated at $1.17 billion by Sportico in 2023.[49] He bought a 18% stake in the English football club Crystal Palace in December 2015, which is operated as a general partnership alongside Blitzer, Steve Parish, and John Textor.[50][51] In September 2016, Harris and Blitzer bought the esports organizations Dignitas and Apex Gaming and merged them under the Dignitas brand.[52] In September 2017, the pair founded Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) to consolidate their sports ventures. In addition to the 76ers and Devils, the company also owns the Delaware Blue Coats of the NBA G League and the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League, as well as HBSE Real Estate, the venture capital firm HBSE Ventures,[53] and the event and marketing firm Elevate Sports Ventures.[54] In June 2020, Harris bought a 5% stake worth $140 million in the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL).[55] In 2022, he led a group consisting of Blitzer, airline executive Martin Broughton, politician and Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Coe, tennis player Serena Williams, and racing driver Lewis Hamilton that pursued a bid to purchase Chelsea of the Premier League before it was sold to Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital for 4.25 billion ($4.5 billion).[56][57] He also pursued a bid for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB) before it was sold to Steve Cohen for $2.4 billion the same year.[58][59] In 2023, Harris and Blitzer explored buying minority stakes in Manchester United.[60]

Maryland governor Wes Moore and Harris at a Washington Commanders game, 2023

In 2023, Harris led a group that purchased the NFL's Washington Commanders and FedExField from Daniel Snyder for $6.05 billion, the highest price ever paid for a sports team.[61][62] He contributed $2 billion in cash, with the rest being raised from 20 limited partners including Danaher and Glenstone founder Mitchell Rales, basketball hall of famer and entrepreneur Magic Johnson, and DC businessman and Washington Kastles owner Mark Ein.[63][64][65] Harris and Johnson had bid on the NFL's Denver Broncos the previous year before it was sold to a group headed by Walmart heirs Rob Walton and Greg Penner.[66][67] He was the third limited partner of the Steelers to become majority owner of another NFL team since 2012, joining Jimmy Haslam and David Tepper of the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers respectively.[68] Around the same time, he bought a minority stake in Joe Gibbs Racing by way of HBSE.[69]

Harris employs general managers and presidents to operate his teams and venues, with diversity, equity, and inclusion and employee empowerment being promoted within his workplace culture.[8][7][34] Harris also invests heavily in sports science and analytics, with 76ers' president of basketball operations Daryl Morey being a leading proponent of the field.[70][71][72] He was among the first sports owners to announce that part-time staff would continue to be paid for any games canceled due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sports, which saw the NBA and NHL suspend operations for most of 2020.[73] Due to public criticism, Harris would reverse a decision to reduce the salaries of HBSE, 76ers, and Devils employees making under $100,000 by 20% during the hiatus.[73] Harris and Blitzer have also invested in youth sports. In 2023, the pair bought a youth baseball brand founded by MLB hall of famer Cal Ripken Jr. and partnered with snowboarder and Olympic gold medalist Shaun White to acquire Oregon-based sports camp operator We Are Camp for $10 million.[74][75] In 2024, Harris and Blitzer invested $10 million in a 115-acre sports complex located near the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[76]

Properties

List of sports teams owned
Team League Year Notes
Philadelphia 76ers National Basketball Association 2011 Managing partner under Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) with David Blitzer. Includes the Delaware Blue Coats of the NBA G League.
New Jersey Devils National Hockey Association 2013 Managing partner under HBSE with David Blitzer. Includes the Prudential Center and the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League.
Crystal Palace F.C. Premier League 2015 General partner with Steve Parish, John Textor, and David Blitzer; 18% stake.
Dignitas Esports 2016 Owned under HBSE with New Meta Entertainment.
Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR 2023 Limited partner under HBSE with Joe Gibbs and David Blitzer.
Washington Commanders National Football League Managing partner; includes FedExField.

Personal life

Harris' wife
Marjorie
(m. 1995)

Harris is Jewish.[70][77] His father Jacob was an orthodontist and his mother Sylvia was a schoolteacher; he has a younger brother named Gabe.[7][78] He married Marjorie Harris (née Rubin) in 1995.[9][79] The couple met while attending Harvard Business School and have three sons and two daughters together; Hannah, Stuart, Thomas, Pierce, and Bridget.[80][81] Harris and fellow Chevy Chase native and businessman Mark Ein have been close friends since elementary school; they later attended Wharton and Harvard together and shared beach houses on Long Island during their time on Wall Street.[2][38]

Harris grew up a fan of local sports teams, attending Washington Redskins games at RFK Stadium and Washington Bullets games at the Capital Centre with his family.[2][80][82] As a youth, he placed third in a Maryland state wrestling tournament and once matched with future Olympic gold medalist Bobby Weaver.[3] Harris received the Outstanding American Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013.[6] He also competes in marathons and triathlons, finishing the 2010 New York City Marathon in 3:53:41 and the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon in 3:48:12.[9][83][84] Harris threw the ceremonial first pitch at a Washington Nationals game in September 2023.[85]

Harris was inducted into Kappa Beta Phi, a Wall Street fraternity, in 2011.[86] In November 2017, he bought the Dommerich Mansion, a 21,000-square-foot townhouse in the Upper East Side of New York City, for $52 million.[87] In July 2021, he bought a 9,100-square-foot mansion in Miami Beach from Marcelo Claure for $32 million.[88] Harris was included on Sports Business Journal's "Most Influential: Dealmakers & Disrupters" list in 2022.[89] Harris frequently takes private helicopters to attend games. Due to a scheduling error, he once caused the cancellation of a youth soccer match held at Newark's St. Benedict's Preparatory School as the field is sometimes used as a helipad.[90] His net worth was estimated in early 2024 to be $7.9 billion by Forbes and $8.42 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.[91][92] He held $2.54 billion in Apollo shares as of June 2023.[93]

Philanthropy

Harris and his wife founded Harris Philanthropies, a nonprofit organization based in New York City, in 2014.[94][95] He established the $5 million Harris Center for Precision Wellness at New York's Icahn Genomics Institute in 2015.[96] Between 2015 and 2020, Harris donated a total of $3.5 million to the Philadelphia Police Athletic League, $648,950 to the Republican Party, and $190,150 to the Democratic Party.[97][98] He has been partnered with After-School All-Stars since 2016, providing a $1 million grant for six schools in Newark, Philadelphia, and Camden.[99] Harris has also supported the University of Pennsylvania with several donations, including $1 million to the Penn Quakers wrestling program,[100] establishing the Harris Family Endowed Scholarship program for undergraduate students from the Washington, D.C. area,[101] and establishing the $10 million Harris Family Alternative Investments program.[100] He has also participated in forums and panels hosted by organizations such as the Milken Institute, the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.[102][103][104]

Harris has contributed to socioeconomic programs in Israel through sports, including founding a youth basketball league known as the 48ers and funding a project integrating Ethiopian immigrants.[105] He donated more than $7 million worth of food, medical supplies, and COVID-19-related equipment to several Philadelphia-based groups and organizations by April 2020.[106][107][108][109] HBSE also committed $20 million to fight racial injustice that year, with Harris further donating $2 million to The Bridgespan Group to expand their nonprofit programs in Philadelphia and Camden.[94][110] In 2022, he established the $5 million Harris Family Fund for Sports Management and Alternative Investments program at Harvard Business School,[111] as well as donating to the Reform Alliance,[112] several Philadelphia-area homeless shelters,[113] and mobile cancer clinics to the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.[114] The same year, he donated $1 million to Fund for Health, a health inequity collaboration fund by Penn Med and Wharton, with another million to Penn Med to promote student diversity in clinical medicine and biomedical research.[115][116]

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