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Meet Bernie Marcus, the Home Depot co-founder who is fearful of ‘socialism’ and ‘woke’ workers ruining America

Bernie Marcus home depotBernie Marcus, 90, grew up in Newark, New Jersey.

Photo by Erik Lesser/Liaison

  • Bernie Marcus was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1929 to Russian Jewish immigrant parents.
  • He and Arthur Blank co-founded The Home Depot in 1978, and now the company has 2,300 stores.
  • The former first CEO of Home Depot has decried younger generations as being “woke” and “lazy.”

Editor’s note: Taylor Nicole Rogers wrote a previous version of this story.

Marcus was born in 1929 in Newark, New Jersey, a city roughly 15 miles west of New York City.Newark, New Jersey 1930s

New York Daily News Archives

Source: Bloomberg

He was the youngest of four siblings, and they and his Russian Jewish immigrant parents lived in a tenement when he was growing up.Old tenement

Heritage Images

Source: Rutgers University

Marcus graduated from Rutgers University in New Jersey with a pharmacy degree in the 1950s.Rutgers campusThe Rutgers campus has manicured lawns and walkways.

jass/Flickr

Source: Rutgers University

Now-defunct Los Angeles-based company Handy Dan Improvement Centers fired Marcus, then the CEO, and his future business partner Arthur Blank during a corporate restructuring in 1978.Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank

Getty Images

Source: Fox Business

After the two were fired, Marcus and Blank founded Home Depot in 1978, with Marcus serving as the company’s first CEO.arthur blank and bernie marcus home depot

Rob Kinmonth/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Source: The Home Depot

The first two Home Depot stores opened in the metro Atlanta area in 1979 as part of the company’s drive to run home improvement superstores, but they weren’t immediate successes.First Home Depot store

Home Depot

Marcus and Blank lost half the money they invested in the company during the first year the stores were open.Bernie and store manager Home Depot

Courtesy of The Home Depot

Source: Bloomberg

But the company caught steam, and Home Depot went public in 1981.Home Depot

Ted Shaffrey/AP Photo

Source: The Home Depot

And today, more than 40 years after its founding, Home Depot has roughly 2,300 stores in North America and employs approximately half a million people.home depot

AP/Elaine Thompson

Source: The Home Depot

In 2002, Marcus retired as chair of Home Depot’s Board of Directors and today has a net worth of roughly $5.5 billion.bernie marcus home depot

Richard Drew / AP Images

Source: Bloomberg

Marcus has three children and has been married twice, tying the knot with his current wife Billi Marcus more than 40 years ago.bernie marcus billy marcus home depot

Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic

Source: Atlanta Jewish Times

The Marcuses are noted philanthropists, giving a nearly $250 million donation to help open the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta in 2005.bernie marcus and wife

Flickr

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

He has also actively given to Republican politicians, donating $64 million to political causes over the years such as the campaigns of former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Sen. John McCain, according to data from the Federal Election Commission.bernie marcus donald trump

Ric Feld, Evan Vucci/AP Images

Source: Insider

Marcus sparked a boycott of Home Depot in July 2019 after telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he would once again financially support the president in 2020.bernie marcus

Barry Williams/Getty Images

Source: Insider

Lately, he has made many controversial claims about today’s work climate, claiming in a December 2022 interview that “nobody works, nobody gives a damn” anymore because of “socialism.”Bernie Marcus

Fox Business

Source: Insider

And in January, he decried “the woke generation,” saying their “laziness” makes them bad business leaders.Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank

Getty Images

Source: Insider

 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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