Robert D. Ziff

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Robert D. Ziff
Born 1967 (age 49–50)
Residence New York City, New York, US
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard University (BA)
Cornell University (JD)
Occupation Investor
Known for Inheritance, Investments
Net worth Increase US$ 5 billion (February 2016)[1]
Spouse(s) Michelle Angelic Locher
Children 2
Parent(s) William Bernard Ziff, Jr.
Barbara Ingrid Beitz
Relatives Dirk Ziff
Daniel Ziff

Robert D. Ziff (born 1967) is an American billionaire and the middle son of publishing magnate William Bernard Ziff, Jr. He and his two brothers inherited the family fortune in 1994.

Early life and education[edit]

Robert was born in 1967. His mother was Barbara Ingrid Beitz, an ethnic German whose parents were declared as "Righteous among the Nations" for providing refuge and risking their lives to save Jews during World War II.[2] His father was the Jewish American media magnate William Ziff Jr. (d. 2006), who had built the Ziff-Davis magazine empire that included titles such as Popular Aviation, PC Magazine, and Car and Driver.[3]

Ziff studied undergraduate electrical and computer engineering at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude. He then attended Cornell Law School, where he graduated first in his class and was editor of the Cornell Law Review.[4][3] After law school, Ziff clerked for Chief Judge Monroe G. McKay of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Salt Lake City, Utah and later served as vice president of strategic planning at Ziff Communications Company.[4]


Robert and his brothers Dirk and Daniel inherited the family fortune in 1994 after their father sold 95% of the business to Forstmann Little for $1.4 billion and retired. The father had originally wanted to pass the company on to his sons but they were not interested. Instead, they formed New York City-based Ziff Brothers Investments, investing their inheritances broadly across equities, debt, real estate, commodities, private equity and hedge funds. They also provided seed money to fund manager Daniel Och in exchange for a 10% stake in Och-Ziff Capital Management which went public in 2007.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Robert is married to fellow Cornell Law School graduate and attorney Michelle Angelic Locher. They live in Manhattan with their twin sons. [4][5][6]

Philanthropy and political contributions[edit]

In 1998, Robert donated $2 million to the Harvard University men's hockey program.[7] In 2008, he established the Robert D. Ziff Professorship of Law at Cornell Law School.[8] He also made headlines in 2011 for his financial contributions to Republican legislators supportive of gay marriage.[1]