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David Murdock

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Title: David Murdock  
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Subject: Global Crossing, Larry Ellison, Cannon Mills
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David Murdock

Not to be confused with David Murdoch.

David Howard Murdock (born April 11, 1923) is an American businessman. Forbes ranks him as the 190th-richest person in the "Forbes 400" list and 613th in the "World's Billionaires" list, with a net worth of US$2.4 billion as of March 2013.[1][2]

Early career

Murdock grew up in Montgomery Township, Ohio and dropped out of high school in the 9th grade.[1][3] He was drafted by the United States Army in 1943 during World War II.

After relocating to Detroit after the war, Murdock was homeless and destitute. Due to a chance encounter with a good samaritan, however, he got a $1,200 loan to buy a closing diner, flipping it for a $700 profit ten months later.[4]

He moved to Arizona and began working there first in housing and then commercial real estate. When the real estate market collapsed in the 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles where he continued developing real estate opportunities, leading to a string of acquisitions.

In 1978 he acquired control of International Mining. In early 1980s he became the largest shareholder in Occidental Petroleum by selling the company his 18 percent interest in Iowa Beef.[2]


In 1985 Murdock took over the nearly bankrupt Hawaiian firm Castle & Cooke, which owned pineapple and banana producer Dole Food Company. He developed Castle & Cooke's real estate portfolio into residential and commercial properties and turned Dole into the world's largest producer of fruits and vegetables.[5] Acquiring Dole privately in 2003, Murdock completed a $446 million initial public offering in October 2009 and the company now trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker DOLE.

As a result of his purchase of Castle & Cooke, Murdock acquired ownership of 98% of Lana'i, the sixth largest island in Hawaii. In June 2012, Murdock sold his interest in Lana'i to Larry Ellison.[6]

Murdock owns other companies, including Pacific Clay.[7]

Personal life

Murdock's father was a travelling salesman, while his mother took up laundry and scrubbed floors to make ends meet. Murdock is the middle child of three; he had two sisters. He was particularly close to his mother, who died at 42 from cancer.[2]

Murdock has been married five times. He married his third wife, Gabriele, in 1967. He had two children with Gabriele. When he married Gabriele, he also adopted her son from a previous marriage, Eugene, making a total of three children. Gabriele was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1983 and died in 1985. A year later, Eugene died after hitting his head while swimming in the family estate's swimming pool. In 2004, Justin Murdock became his only surviving child, after another son, David Murdock Jr., died in an auto accident on the Santa Monica Freeway.[2] Justin Murdock currently serves as CEO and Executive Chairman of the Board of NovaRX. Justin is also Senior Vice President of Investments for both Castle & Cooke and the Dole Food Company. He serves on the executive boards of both companies, as well as their audit and finance committees.

Recent activities

More recently Murdock has helped contribute to the redevelopment of a 5,800,000-square-foot (540,000 m2) complex in Kannapolis, North Carolina of a biotechnology research center known as the North Carolina Research Campus.[2] The research center is a joint public-private venture, involving major North Carolina universities and private investment. The site of the research center in the middle of Kannapolis was formerly occupied by Plant #1 of Cannon Mills (which became Pillowtex after a series of mergers and acquisitions).[8] Pillowtex filed for bankruptcy in 2003, and closed the once-thriving mill where Cannon towels and sheets were made, and was the basis for the creation of the town of Kannapolis. The closing of Plant #1 resulted in the largest mass layoff of workers in North Carolina history. Murdock acquired the site and demolished the mill in 2006.[9]

Focus on nutrition

After the death of his third wife, Gabriele, Murdock has been deeply committed to finding a cure for cancer, advancing nutrition and life extension.[10] He established the Dole Nutrition Institute to teach the benefits of a plant-based diet to promote health and prevent disease. With the help of UCLA, he oversaw the writing of the "Encyclopedia of Foods, A Guide to Healthy Nutrition." In 2006 he opened the California Health and Longevity Institute (CHLI).[11]


External links

  • Dole Food Company, Inc.
  • Castle & Cooke, Inc.
  • Flexi-Van Leasing, Inc.
  • Pacific Clay Products Inc.
  • Dole Nutrition Institute
  • Documentary film discussing Dole bananas.
  • California Health & Longevity Institute
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