Michael Zilkha

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Michael Zilkha
Born 1954
Alma mater Lincoln College, Oxford
Occupation entrepreneur
Known for co-founder, ZE Records
Spouse(s) Cristina Monet-Palaci (1983-90)
Cornelia "Nina" O'Leary
Children Daniel Michael Zilkha
Parent(s) Selim Zilkha
Diane Bashi
Relatives Khedouri Zilkha (grandfather)
Ezra Zilkha (uncle)
Harold Lever, Baron Lever of Manchester (stepfather)

Michael Zilkha (born 1954) is a British-born entrepreneur, the co-founder of ZE Records.

Early life[edit]

He was born in 1954, the son of Selim Zilkha, the founder of Mothercare, one of the UK's largest retail chains (and the grandson of Khedouri Zilkha, a banker) and Diane Bashi. His parents had divorced by 1962, when his mother married the British politician Harold Lever (later Harold Lever, Baron Lever of Manchester).[1] He was educated at Westminster School, London, where his friends included the journalist Tom Utley.[2]

He graduated from Lincoln College, Oxford.[3]


In 1978, he co-founded ZE Records with Michel Esteban, which he co-owned until 1986. From 1986 to 1998, he was co-owner and executive vice president of Zilkha Energy, and from 1998 to 2005 president and co-owner of Zilkha Renewable Energy, until it was bought by Goldman Sachs in July 2005 and renamed Horizon Wind Energy, and co-owner of Zilkha Biomass Energy.[3]

In 1998, Zilkha and his father sold the Houston-based Zilkha Energy to Sonat for $1 billion, which in turn was later acquired by El Paso Corporation, of which the Zilkhas became major shareholders.[4]

Personal life[edit]

In 1983, he married the singer Cristina Monet-Palaci.[5] They divorced in 1990.

He is married to Cornelia "Nina" O'Leary, a descendant of Hugh Roy Cullen, and they have a son.[6][7]


  1. ^ "Stock Photo - Mar. 15, 1962 - LABOUR MP MARRIES IRAQI HEIRESS: Harold Lever, 48, Labour MP for Manchester's Cheatham, Division, today married". alamy. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Utley, Tom (14 February 2008). "TOM UTLEY: Don't worry, Sir Paul. Public school won't mess up your girl. She might even learn to hang her Picassos in the loo". Daily Mail. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Executive Profile Michael Zilkha". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  4. ^ Perin, Monica (27 April 2003). "Wind energy visionary flies under the radar". Houston Business Journal. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  5. ^ New York Media, LLC (23 April 1984). New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. pp. 54–57. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "Roy Henry Cullen". legacy. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Pugh, Clifford (22 March 2015). "Anna Wintour's stormy Houston weekend: Big River Oaks wedding, luncheon gossip & not a hair out of place". CultureMap. Retrieved 24 November 2015.