April 20, 1965 |
Clifton, New Jersey
|Residence||New York, NY|
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania|
Race car driver
|Spouse(s)||Karin Wilzig (m. 2003)|
Alan Wilzig (born April 20, 1965) is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, championship-winning race car driver, and restaurateur. He was formerly CEO, president and chairman of the Trust Company of New Jersey. He is best known for his accomplishments at the bank, which included nearly doubling its market value from $385 million, when he took over, to $752 million by the time he helmed its sale to North Fork Bank in 2004.
Background and early life
Wilzig was born and raised in Clifton, New Jersey, to Siggi Wilzig, a German Holocaust survivor, and Naomi (né Sisselman), a New Jersey native. He has two siblings, Ivan Wilzig and Sherry Wilzig.
Siggi Wilzig spent three years in Auschwitz, where the Nazis murdered 59 of his relatives, including his brother, mother and father, who was killed in front of him. In 1947, he immigrated to the United States, working as a traveling salesman before eventually earning his fortune in oil and banking. He purchased the Trust Company of New Jersey (TCNJ) in 1968, and built it into a 45-branch franchise.
After graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1987, Wilzig joined TCNJ. He was elected to the board of directors in 1997, promoted to senior executive vice president and chief operating officer in 1999, and named president and CEO in 2002. After his father’s passing in 2003, he was appointed chairman of the board, while continuing in his role as president and CEO. Under Wilzig’s leadership, the bank expanded to 75 branches and nearly doubled in market value. In December 2003, North Fork Bank agreed to purchase TCNJ for approximately $752 million in cash and stock. North Fork officially acquired TCNJ on May 17, 2004. Following the merger, Wilzig became a director at North Fork.
Wilzig is a co-owner of the restaurant Kutsher’s Tribeca, a modern Jewish-American bistro which opened in Tribeca in 2011. He spent over a year helping refine the restaurant’s concept, based in part on Kutsher's Country Club in Monticello, New York.
Wilzig is the founding director of the Jewish Community Project of Lower Manhattan, created in 2001; a board member of the Rainforest Alliance; was elected vice chairman of the board at Liberty Health in 2008 and remains on the board; and a co-founder of the Chabad of Southampton synagogue. He is a director on the board of the Wilzig Family Foundation, which has donated over $1 million to the University of Pennsylvania.
Automotive racing and collecting
A semi-professional race car driver and member of the Performance Tech team, Wilzig won the 2011 and 2012 Master's Championship in the L2 class of the American Le Mans Series. He then made the jump to L1 class. He placed second in each of the first two rounds of the 2012 Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring race held in Sebring, Florida.
Wilzig Racing Manor
In 2005, Wilzig purchased a 275-acre property in Taghkanic, New York. The following year, he asked the town zoning board for permission to build a racetrack on the property, which he planned to call Wilzig Racing Manor. It was zoned and approved for recreational use, but a lawsuit was filed by local activists the Granger Group, formed in 2006 to oppose the track’s construction, citing concerns about noise, safety, and general quality of life. After the Granger Group’s initial victory in the lower New York courts, the New York State Court of Appeals reversed the decision and reinstated the original zoning order, in favor of Wilzig.
The racetrack was completed in 2011 at a cost of $7.5 million. It is the largest racetrack zoned for private recreational use in the US. The track is over a mile in length and 40 feet wide, contains an elevation change of 80 feet from the highest to lowest point, and is capable of being run in several configurations. The longest such configuration, intended for time trials, allows for a 2.75 mile lap with only one pair of consecutive turns in the same direction.
Wilzig owns over 100 cars, motorcycles and off-road vehicles, which he houses at the Wilzig Racing Manor. His car collection includes a Gardner-Douglas Lola T70, a Lotus Esprit V8, a 2008 Lotus 2-Eleven, a 2006 West WR1000, a 2006 Ariel Atom and a Toyota-powered Indy car. His motorcycle collection includes 24 Bimotas, a 1953 Moto Guzzi, a 1974 Ducati Sport, a 1976 Ducati 900ss and a 1992 Honda NR750. He also owns KTM adventure bikes. Cycle World referred to his motorcycle collection as the envy of motorcycle collectors, dubbing his garage the "Garaj Mahal". He has appeared on a variety of motorsports-oriented programming.
In 2004, Wilzig created a motorcycle combining parts and features from the Ducati 998 and MV Agusta F4. Considered a tribute to the motorcycles’ original designer, Massimo Tamburini, the fusion motorcycle was judged by the Robb Report to be an ideal motorcycle for fans of Tamburini’s designs.
In 1996, Wilzig and his long-time girlfriend and now wife Karin began building a 14,000 square foot Medieval-style homestead in Water Mill on Long Island, New York. The Wilzig Castle, as Wilzig named it, was featured on the Travel Channel’s 2005 hour-long special Grand Castles of America. In 2003, Wilzig sold his 50% share to his brother Ivan, who owned the other half, and continues to live in the castle. It is regularly the site of celebrity-filled Hamptons parties.
- Roger D. Friedman, “From Auschwitz to a Castle in the Hamptons: The Wilzig Story,” New York Observer, February 1, 1999.
- Kenneth N. Gilpin, “Siggi B. Wilzig, 76, Executive and Survivor of the Holocaust,” New York Times, January 9, 2003.
- Roger Fritz, Wars of Succession: The Blessings, Curses and Lessons That Family-Owned Firms Offer Anyone in Business, Merritt Publishing, 1997, pp. 193–97.
- “The Trust Company of New Jersey Names Alan Wilzig Chairman of the Board,” PR Newswire, January 29, 2003.
- Mike Spinelli, “In his front yard, this man built America’s largest private racetrack,” Jalopnik, October 13, 2011.
- “North Fork to Buy Trust Company of New Jersey,” New York Times, December 17, 2003.
- Jason Seo and Mark Hebeka, “Capital One’s Northern Exposure,” Bloomberg Businessweek, March 13, 2006.
- “North Fork Bancorporation, Inc. Expands in New Jersey with the Acquisition of the State’s 4th Largest Bank, Trust Company of New Jersey, for $726 Million in Stock,” Business Wire, December 16, 2003.
- Micki Siegel, “Where there’s a Wilzig,” New York Post, January 13, 2012.
- “More on Kutsher’s Tribea,” Tribeca Citizen, June 15, 2011.
- “About Us: Jersey City Medical Center,” Liberty Health. Accessed September 3, 2013.
- Carol Goodstein, editor, Rainforest Alliance 2011 Annual Report, p. 2.
- “Liberty Health Announces New Board Leadership,” Liberty Health. Accessed September 3, 2013.
- Robert Kolker, “The Hasids of Southampton,” New York, July 4, 2005.
- Sean Carson, “American millionaire builds the ultimate racetrack home,” MSN UK, December 10, 2012.
- “Wilzig Family Foundation – Total Gifts Over Time,” Million Dollar List. Accessed September 3, 2013.
- “’Fresh’ New Faces Join Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda in Sebring Series Opener,” Prototype Lites, March 11, 2013.
- "Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship, Official Race Report – Round 1". Cooper Tires Prototypes Lites Championship Powered by Mazda. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
- "Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship, Official Race Report – Round 2". Cooper Tires Prototypes Lites Championship Powered by Mazda. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
- Peter Applebome, “Plans for a Private Racetrack Fuel a Public Battle, With Some Surprising Alliances,” New York Times, October 8, 2006.
- Nicholas Confessore, “Ballot Fight as Party Lines Divide Newcomer and Native,” New York Times, December 22, 2009.
- Rob Doyle, “The Duke of Trust,” Moto Savvy, 2003.
- "Garaj Mahal: Mr. Wilzig builds his dream house", Cycle World, July 2006, pp. 66–69.
- For example, Mike Spinelli, “Meet the Man Who Built A Racetrack In His Front Yard,” Jalopnik, August 16, 2012.
- "Boardroom Beauty", Robb Report, Summer 2004, pp. 114–18.
- Rani Robinson, “Grand Castles of America,” Travel Channel, June 2005.
- Marc S. Malkin, “Rayder and Ryder Raise a Glass,” New York, April 28, 2003.
- Ana M. Ferrer, “Cat fight at Sir Ivan Wilzig’s annual Hampton’s party: report,” The Star Ledger, August 30, 2012.
- Motoko Rich, “The Town House Morphs,” New York Times, August 28, 2003.