Forbes Treats Carl Icahn Differently Than Discount Tire's Bruce Halle

Bob Ulrich
Posted on December 28, 2015

With Carl Icahn’s pursuit of Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack dominating the news, I checked The Forbes 400 list to get an idea of how wealthy he really was. Forbes lists him as 22nd on the list with a net worth of $20.5 billion.

That’s more than enough to battle Bridgestone Americas Inc. for ownership of Pep Boys.

What really caught my eye was his “Self-Made Score,” something Forbes added in 2014. The magazine gives each member of The Forbes 400 a score on a scale from 1 to 10, “a 1 indicating the fortune was completely inherited, while a 10 was for a Horatio Alger-esque journey.”

Forbes went on to explain a score of 10 through two examples.

“To merit a score of 10, a member of the Forbes 400 would have to have been born into poverty, or lower middle class, and had to overcome obstacles such as being left an orphan, forced to work low-paying jobs, or faced abuse or discrimination. Oprah Winfrey, who grew up dirt poor, raised alternately by her single mom and her grandmother, and was sexually abused by several male relatives, and George Soros, who survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest, fled Hungary under Communist rule and worked his way through the London School of Economics as a railway porter and a waiter, are prime examples of what a 10 represents.”

Icahn was given a “10.” However, there is nothing in his biography which puts him in the Oprah Winfrey (No. 211 with $3 billion) or George Soros (No. 16, $24.5 billion) category. According to reports, he wasn’t born into poverty -- 10 years ago, Forbes described him as having a middle class upbringing -- and worked hard, armed with a degree from Princeton.

Bruce Halle, chairman of Reinalt-Thomas Corp., which does business as Discount Tire, built his Forbes-estimated $6.1 billion business with two new tires and four retreaded tires and received a “9.” He is 76th on the list.

I don’t know if Icahn’s family was more well-off financially than Halle’s, but I think Icahn was an only child, while Halle is one of seven siblings growing up during the Great Depression and World War II (Halle is six years older than Icahn).

Halle’s other two choices when he chose to open his first Discount Tire store as a one-man operation in 1960? Selling factory-second shoes or day-old bread. Icahn was a stockbroker.

I would argue that Bruce Halle’s journey was much more “Alger-esque” than Icahn’s.

Related Topics: Bridgestone Americas, Bruce Halle, Carl Icahn, Discount Tire, Pep Boys financials

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 3 )
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  • Jones

     | about 2 years ago

    Mr. Halle cares for and cultivates his people through trust, respect and truly offering the American dream to his family. I say family because that is what Discount Tire Co. is. As Bruce always says "We do this together" and that is what we do. I have been a part of Discount Tire Co. for over 20 years and have never felt like an "employee" the culture we have is unique and I have always felt I was part of something bigger. Bruce will always be a 10 to his team and I don't think he really minds what Forbes rates him.We will continue to grow as a company and we will continue to have the best people engaging our customers everyday.We have to earn the right to call someone our customer and our focus will always remain on the safety of our customers.The customers will take care of the rest.

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