Victor Kiam

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Victor K. Kiam (December 7, 1926 – May 27, 2001) was an American entrepreneur and TV spokesman for Remington Products, and the owner of the New England Patriots football team from 19881991.

Victor Kiam
Born Victor K. Kiam
(1926-12-07)December 7, 1926
New Orleans, La., U.S.
Died May 27, 2001(2001-05-27) (age 74)
Stamford, Ct.
Nationality American
Alma mater Yale University
Occupation Chairman, President and Spokesman of Remington Products
Known for Ownership of the New England Patriots
Spouse(s) Ellen Lipscher (m. 1956-2001)
Children Lisa Durkin, Victor Kiam III, Robin Kiam Aviv

Biography[edit]

After attending Yale, the Sorbonne, and Harvard Business School, Kiam worked for Lever Brothers and Playtex as a salesman. He bought the Benrus Watch Company in 1968, selling his majority stake in 1977.[1] He made a fortune as the President and CEO of Remington Products, which he famously purchased in 1979 after his wife bought him his first electric shaver. Kiam became famous as the spokesman for the Remington shaver. His catchphrase, "I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company", made him a household name.[2] He recorded each commercial in the native language of the country in which it was broadcast. In Britain he became a celebrity, appearing on TV chat shows, including 'Wogan', 'The Tube', and David Frost's 'Through the Keyhole'. He also operated other companies, including Ronson and TravelSmart.[1]

In 1988, Kiam bought the NFL's New England Patriots for $84 million from founder Billy Sullivan.[3] The sale did not include Foxboro Stadium, which Sullivan lost in a bankruptcy sale to paper magnate Robert Kraft, and Kiam lost money on the deal. In 1990, Lisa Olson, a Boston Herald reporter, sued Kiam and the Patriots when Zeke Mowatt allegedly exposed himself and made lewd comments to her in the team change room. The incident stirred debate over female reporters in the locker room. Kiam became the center of the controversy when he came to the defense of the players' actions. "I can't disagree with the players' actions," he said, and claimed that the Herald "asked for trouble" by assigning a female reporter to cover the Patriots.[4]

By 1992, Kiam was reported to be heavily in debt to St. Louis businessman James Orthwein, and was forced to sell his 51 percent stake in the Patriots to him, in part to service the debt. Orthwein would sell that stake to Kraft only two years later, after an aborted attempt to move the Patriots to St. Louis. In 1994, Kiam sold his controlling interest in Remington Products to Isaac Perlmutter.[1]

Kiam is also well known for "Lady Remington" jewelry, a direct sales jewelry company specializing in in-home parties. Later, it was renamed Lia Sophia, after his granddaughters, Lia and Sophia. The direct sales division of the company was closed down in December 2014, when its 25,000 sales advisors in the United States and Canada were laid off.[5]

Bibliography[edit]

Kiam wrote the following books about business and entrepreneurship:

  • Going for It!: How to Succeed As an Entrepreneur[6]
  • Keep going for it!: living the life of an entrepreneur[7]
  • Live to Win: Achieving Success in Life and Business[8]

Death[edit]

Kiam resided in Stamford, Connecticut at the time of his death.[9] He was survived by his wife, Ellen, and three children, Lisa Durkin, Victor "Tory" Kiam III, and Robin Kiam Aviv, and seven grandchildren, Jenny, Alexander, Sophia, Lia, Caleigh, Nikki, and Blake.

Upon Kiam's death The Times quoted one of his closest business associates in later years, Jonathon Lyons, as saying that he was "a truly remarkable entrepreneur of the old kind – the kind they simply don't make any more."[9]

References[edit]

External links[edit]