Mitchell Rales

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Mitchell Rales
Rales in 2018
BornAugust 1956 (age 67)
EducationMiami University (1978)
Known forCo-founding Danaher
Board member of
  • Danaher
  • ESAB
  • Lyn Goldthorp (div. 1999)
  • (m. 2008)
FamilySteven Rales (brother)

Mitchell P. Rales (born August 1956) is an American businessman and art collector. He founded Danaher Corporation in 1984 with his brother Steven Rales and is the chairman of its executive committee. Rales is also the chairman of ESAB, president of the National Gallery of Art, founder and president of Glenstone, an art museum established at his home with his wife Emily Wei, and a limited partner of the Washington Commanders of the National Football League (NFL). His net worth was estimated by Forbes in July 2023 to be $5.4 billion.

Early life[edit]

Rales was born in August 1956 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Bethesda, Maryland. He graduated from Walt Whitman High School in 1974, where he was captain of their football and baseball teams.[1][2][3][4] Rales earned a degree in business administration at Miami University in 1978 and was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity.[5]



In 1979, Rales left his father's real estate firm to found Equity Group Holdings with his brother, Steven Rales. Using junk bonds, they bought a diversified line of businesses. In 1978, they changed the name to Diversified Mortgage Investors and then to Danaher in 1984.[6] In the 1980s, the AM side of radio station WGMS was sold off to Rales, who converted it WTEM, a sports-talk station, in 1992. In 1988, he made a takeover bid of Interco, which was the largest manufacturer of furniture and men's shoes in the U.S. at the time.[7][8] He later ended the bid after five months with a profit of $60 million.[9]

In 1995, Rales and his brother founded Colfax Corporation, an industrial pumps manufacturer later rebranded as Enovis in 2022.[10] He is a majority shareholder of Fortive, which split off from Danaher in 2016, and served on their board of directors until June 2021.[6][11] In 2017, Rales paid a fine of $720,000 to the Federal Trade Commission after inadvertently reporting purchases of shares in Colfax and Danaher were not above the filing threshold, which violated the Hart–Scott–Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.[12] He had previously been fined $850,000 by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1991 for violating the same act after buying Interco.[13]

In 2023, Rales became the top limited partner of a group headed by Josh Harris that purchased the Washington Commanders, an American football team belonging to the National Football League (NFL).[14] The price, $6.05 billion, was the highest ever paid for a sports team.[15] He considered the opportunity to be humbling, as he was grew up a fan of the team and frequently attended games with his brothers at RFK Stadium.[16]


Glenstone, an art museum founded with his wife in 2006

In 2006, Rales and his wife Emily Wei Rales established the art museum Glenstone in Potomac, Maryland.[17][18] Rales had owned the land since 1986 and had previously made it his residence.[19] Glenstone displays the Rales's collection of post-World War II art, including paintings, sculptures, and both indoor and outdoor installations, and also functions as his personal residence.[20][21] In 2018, Glenstone finished a $219 million expansion which increased both the gallery space and the wooded land surrounding the galleries.[22] Rales donated $1.9 billion to the Glenstone Foundation in 2021, increasing the museum's asset value to $4.6 billion, nearly the same as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.[21] The museum is free to visit via online booking.[23][24]

Personal life[edit]

Rales (center) with Aruna Miller, Wes Moore, Doug Williams, and Jason Wright, 2023

Rales is Jewish and is one of four sons of Ruth (née Abramson) and Norman Rales.[25][26] Norman was raised in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of New York and later became a successful businessman, who sold his building supply company in Washington, D.C. to his employees in what was the first employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) transaction in the U.S. Norman was also a philanthropist, having founded the Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation and the Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service.[25] Rales has three brothers: Joshua, Steven, and Stewart.[25] In 1988, he had a near-death experience during a fishing trip in Russia after a plane exploded 10 feet from their helicopter.[19]

Rales has been married twice. He and his first wife, Lyn Goldthorp Rales, had two children before a divorce in 1999.[27] He married his second wife, Emily Wei, in 2008.[22][28][3] He lives in Potomac, Maryland.[29] Rales is the president of the National Gallery of Art and serves as chairman of the board of ESAB.[30] He is also a former board member of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and retired as chair of Enovis in 2023.[30][31] The same year, he was elected as a member of the Business, Corporate, and Philanthropic Leadership class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[32] Rales signed the Giving Pledge in 2019, with his net worth being estimated by Forbes in July 2023 to be $5.4 billion.[29][33]


  1. ^ "Mitchell RALES". Companies House. Retrieved April 12, 2023.
  2. ^ Alessia Zorloni (August 19, 2016). Art Wealth Management: Managing Private Art Collections. Springer. p. 135. ISBN 978-3-319-24241-5. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Edgers, Geoff (September 24, 2018). "Meet the very wealthy, very private couple behind Washington's most original museum". Washington Post. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  4. ^ Murphy, Carolyn and Lynn Stander (September 2005). "We Knew Them When". Bethesda Magazine. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008.
  5. ^ Kiger, Patrick J. (November 1994). "The good guys: Steven and Mitchell Rales have quietly brown-bagged their way to fortunes worth half a billion dollars. But they'd rather you didn't know that. Or them". Regardie's Magazine.
  6. ^ a b "Bloomberg Billionaires Index #309 Mitchell Rales". Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  7. ^ David A. Vise; Steve Coll (August 23, 1988). "The Rales Brothers Play for Big Stakes; Little-Known Area Family Builds an Industrial Empire". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012.
  8. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; Request on Interco". The New York Times. August 4, 1988.
  9. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; Rales Brothers Sell Their Interco Stake". The New York Times. December 16, 1988.
  10. ^ Thomas Heath (July 7, 2008). "The Quiet Dynamism of the Brothers Rales". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ "Fortive Announces Appointment of Daniel Comas to Its Board of Directors and the Retirement of Steven Rales and Mitchell Rales From the Board". March 11, 2021. Retrieved April 2, 2023.
  12. ^ "In Two Separate Actions, FTC Charges Investors with Violations of U.S. Premerger Notification Requirements". January 17, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2023.
  13. ^ "United States v. Mitchell P. Rales; Proposed Final Judgment and Competitive Impact Statement". Federal Register. Antitrust Division. Retrieved May 21, 2023.
  14. ^ Jhabvala, Nicki (September 7, 2023). "Commanders owner on restoring the former name: 'That ship has sailed.'". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 7, 2023.
  15. ^ Jhabvala, Nicki (July 20, 2023). "The Commanders sale was so complicated, it was 'like 20 deals in one'". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 23, 2023.
  16. ^ Selby, Zach (July 22, 2023). "Josh Harris, Mitch Rales and Earvin 'Magic' Johnson deliver powerful opening statements". Retrieved July 23, 2023.
  17. ^ Russeth, Andrew (September 21, 2018). "Maximum Minimalism: Emily and Mitchell Rales's Glenstone Museum Grows". Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  18. ^ Sernovitz, Daniel J. (September 6, 2018). "Contractor sues Glenstone museum for $24 million 'disorganized' expansion planning". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  19. ^ a b Kenny, Katie. "Mitchell Rales: What to Know About the Latest Commanders Bidder". Washingtonian. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  20. ^ Sussman, Anna Louie (September 25, 2018). "Inside the $200 Million Expansion of America's New Must-See Museum". Artsy. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  21. ^ a b Maloney, Tom (February 28, 2023). "This Upstart Museum Now Has a Met-Sized Endowment". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  22. ^ a b Vogel, Carol (April 18, 2013). "Mitchell and Emily Rales Are Expanding Glenstone Museum". The New York Times.
  23. ^ Pogrebin, Robert (September 21, 2018). "Glenstone, a Private Art Xanadu, Invests $200 Million in a Public Vision". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 2, 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  24. ^ Smee, Sebastian; Higgins, Adrian. "Glenstone: See inside (and outside) D.C.'s newest museum experience". Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 2, 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  25. ^ a b c Huriash, Lisa (March 15, 2012). "Norman Rales, orphan to wealthy businessman and philanthropist, is dead at 88". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved April 15, 2023.
  26. ^ Art Wealth Management: Managing Private Art Collections. Zorloni, Alessia. August 19, 2016. ISBN 978-3319242415. OCLC 957318205.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  27. ^ Valdez, Angela (June 6, 2008). "A Very Private Collection". Washington City Paper. Retrieved April 15, 2023.
  28. ^ Kennicott, Philip (May 17, 2013). "Museums". The Washington Post.
  29. ^ a b "Forbes profile: Mitchell Rales". Forbes. Retrieved July 7, 2023.
  30. ^ a b Selvin, Claire (September 27, 2019). "National Gallery of Art Names Darren Walker Trustee, Mitchell Rales Appointed President". ARTnews. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  31. ^ "Enovis Announces Board Leadership Transition". March 15, 2023. Retrieved July 8, 2023.
  32. ^ "New Members Elected in 2023". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  33. ^ "Emily and Mitchell Rales". Retrieved March 9, 2023.

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