January 7, 1933 |
|Occupation||entrepreneur, owner of Detroit Tigers & Detroit Red Wings, founder of Little Caesars Pizza|
Ilitch was born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan, USA, the daughter of Macedonian immigrants. She met her future husband Mike Ilitch in 1954 when the two went on a blind date arranged by his father. A year later, they were married. They have seven children. The Ilitches founded Little Caesars Pizza in 1959 and have since expanded their interests to include restaurants, entertainment, sports and gambling.
Casinos and Indian gaming
One of the original investors in Detroit's MotorCity Casino, Ilitch realized an opportunity to purchase total interest in the casino resort complex from various minor stakeholders and Mandalay Resort Group in 2005. Michigan gaming laws prohibit one company from owning more than one Detroit casino property. With Ilitch as owner, MotorCity Casino is reportedly one of the largest independently owned casino enterprises in the United States—likely the largest woman-owned casino in the U.S.
Ilitch and a partner, Michael J. Malik, Sr., have pursued other casino gambling interests outside of Detroit, and from coast to coast. Among them: the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. Ilitch has partnered with the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Hampton Bays, New York to develop a recent casino in New York. Ilitch also a partnered with Barwest, LLC and Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians to develop casinos in Barstow, California.
Ilitch Holdings, Inc.
Ilitch is vice chairman of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. her family's parent company which includes Little Caesars Pizza, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, Little Caesars Pizza Kit Fundraising Program, Champion Foods, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, Uptown Entertainment and various food service and entertainment venues within these businesses.
The Detroit Red Wings have won four Stanley Cups - 1997, '98, 2002, and '08 - under Ilitch family ownership. Marian Ilitch and three daughters are among only 12 women to have had their names engraved on the trophy.
Mike Ilitch's Detroit Tigers logged losing records in 12 out of 13 seasons but has turned the team around in 2006, making the playoffs for the first time since 1987. The Ilitch's successfully spearheaded a public/private partnership with the taxpayers of the greater Detroit area to build a new home for the Tigers in downtown Detroit. The $300 million plus Comerica Park opened in April 2000. Ilitch Holdings, Inc. manages the stadium and parking.
Investing in the Community
Giving back to the community is Ilitch's trademark. Like most projects developed and owned by Ilitch, the MotorCity is actively involved in the community by contributing about $1 million to local charity groups in Detroit.
In 1985, Ilitch and her husband established the Little Caesars Love Kitchen Foundation, which consists of a mobile pizza restaurant. The Love Kitchen has fed more than 2 million people, aiding the hungry and disaster victims across the U.S. and Canada. Three presidents, President Ronald Reagan, President George Bush Sr, and President Bill Clinton have recognized the Love Kitchen.
Besides donating millions of dollars to charitable organizations, Ilitch and her husband have established Ilitch Charities for Children, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in the areas of health, education and recreation. The Charity has sponsored numerous programs in the Detroit area including amateur sports sponsorships for hundreds of thousands of children.
Nation's Top Business Woman
Ilitch has earned a reputation as a dynamic force in the restaurant and entertainment industry. She continues to blaze new trails and respond to the changing needs of the marketplace. Ilitch was named one of Detroit's Enterprising Women by the Detroit Historical Society in partnership with the Women's Economic Club, National Association of Women Business Owners, Greater Detroit Chapter and Crain's Detroit Business in 2004. In 2005, Ilitch earned Crain's Detroit Business Top Women in Business Honoree. She was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 2001 and in 2008, she was elected to the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and will be inducted on Sept. 13, 2010, in Novi. Ilitch was named Michigan Executive of the Year by the Wayne State School of Business Administration in 1999, received the Hospice of Southeastern Michigan Council Crystal Rose Award for leadership, compassion and dedication to the community in 1997, and American Red Cross of Southeastern Michigan for aiding emergency services and the work of the Red Cross friends in 1996. She was also recognized by Working Women Magazine as the number one women business owner in the nation and the Greater Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners recognized Marian as one of Michigan's Top 25 women business owners in 1994. Ilitch received the Roundtable for Women in Foodservice Pacesetter Award in recognition of lasting and outstanding contributions made by women in foodservice in 1988.
Ilitch and her husband have seven children: son Christopher Paul Ilitch (born June 1965) is CEO and President of Ilitch Holdings, Inc.; daughter Denise D. Ilitch (born November 1955) is an attorney and former co-President, with her brother, of Ilitch Holdings. Other children are Ronald "Ron" Tyrus Ilitch (born June 1957), Michael C. Ilitch, Jr., Lisa M. Ilitch Murray, Atanas Ilitch (born Thomas Ilitch) and Carole M. Ilitch Trepeck.
- Ilitch Holdings, Inc.
- MotorCity Casino
- 25 People to Watch 2006
- Michigan Gaming Commission Board: Historical Timeline