Sammy Ofer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sammy Ofer KBE
Born (1922-02-22)22 February 1922
Galați, Romania[1]
Died 3 June 2011(2011-06-03) (aged 89)
Tel Aviv, Israel
Nationality Israeli
Children Eyal Ofer and Idan Ofer

Sammy Ofer (born Samuel Herskovich; 22 February 1922 – 3 June 2011)[2] was an Israeli businessman and philanthropist. He was one of the wealthiest men in Israel, although most of his time he spent abroad, and managed his businesses from Monte Carlo, Monaco. A member of the Ofer family, the annual Forbes magazine's list of The World's Billionaires estimated in 2011 his fortune, together with his brother Yuli's, to be $10.3 billion, ranked him in 2011 as the 79th in the wealthiest people in the world, and the wealthiest man in Israel.[3]

Life and career[edit]

He was born in 1922 in Galați, Romania. In 1924, Ofer's family immigrated to Mandatory Palestine. The family lived in Haifa. After Ofer finished elementary school, he started working as delivery boy for a shipping company.

With the start of World War II, he enlisted in the Royal Navy and during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War he served in the Israeli Sea Corps. After finishing his military service, he became a shipping agent with the Eastern Conglomerate, and by 1950 had bought his first ship. Since then, he has expanded in the shipping business.[4]

Ofer's assets, which are partly in his exclusive ownership and partly owned together with his brother Yuli, consist of one of the largest private shipping companies in the world, with total value of almost £2 billion.[5] This includes the companies ZIM, Royal Caribbean International, Israel Corporation, Israel Chemicals, Oil Refineries Ltd, Bank Mizrahi-Tfahot, and Tower Semiconductor.

On 3 June 2011, Ofer died in his house in Tel Aviv at the age of 89.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Ofer had two sons, Eyal and Idan, who manage different branches of the family businesses.

On 10 November 2008 he was made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in recognition of his involvement with maritime heritage in the United Kingdom.[7]


In March 2008, Ofer donated £20 million to London's National Maritime Museum (NMM) at Greenwich, as part of a £35 million programme of expansion.[5] Ofer donated £3.3 million to help complete the restoration of the Cutty Sark by 2010.[5] In 2013, a £1.5 million donation from Eyal Ofer enabled the NMM to buy two paintings by George Stubbs from 1722. The paintings depict a kangaroo and a dingo, and are the first depictions of Australian animals in Western art.[8]

In 2007, Sammy Ofer donated $25 million to the Rambam Health Care Campus, in Haifa, Israel. This contribution was earmarked for two main purposes: $17 million for the 2000-bed fortified underground hospital and $7 million to renovate the existing departments of Surgery, Urology, and ENT.

In 2013, Idan Ofer donated £25 million to London Business School in honor of his father, Sammy. The Old Marylebone Town Hall will be renamed the Sammy Ofer Centre. The gift is the largest in the school's history.


On 10 June 2010, at the Rambam Summit, Prof. Rafi Beyar, Director of Rambam Health Care Campus, honoured Sammy Ofer with the Rambam Award 2010.