Mike Ilitch

Mike Ilitch Photo

Michael ‘Mike’ IIitch is the founder and owner of Little Caesars Pizza chain. He also owns the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings. The entrepreneur’s estimated net worth is $2.7 billion.

IIitch was born on 20th July 1929 in Detroit, Michigan to immigrants of Macedonian decent. He graduated from Cooley High School after which he joined the Marine Corps. He returned home after four years and was offered three thousand dollars to sign for the Detroit Tigers. IIitch had a minor league career of four years before so he agreed and played for the New York Yankees, Washington Senators and the Tigers until he injured his knee and was asked to leave. He started a pizza business in 1959. Mike IIitch and his wife opened their first outlet ‘Little Caesars Pizza Treat’ in Garden City. Little did they know that this restaurant would become an international pizza chain in the coming years. IIitch invested his entire life savings in this restaurant. But money was not the only thing that made it successful. He also poured in immense hard work, dedication and time. His hands-on management style and eye for detail helped them make their way in this business.

IIitch bought the Detroit Red Wings hockey club in 1982. The same year he purchased the Olympia Entertainment Inc. Red Wings which was once a struggling club changed into a competitive and profitable enterprise. Today it is ranked as the most valuable franchises of the National Hockey League by the Financial World Magazine. Seeing their success with the Red Wings, IIitch decided to take another chance. This time it was with the much neglected Fox Theatres which IIitch bought in 1987. They managed to restore it and recapture the splendor it once had. Although many people thought that this was not a clever move on IIitch’s part, Fox Theatres have been going pretty well since they were re-opened in 1988. In 1999, IIitch founded ‘IIitch Holdings’ seeing the way their businesses had grown in the past years. In 2012 the total revenue of his companies was more than $20.5 billion.

IIitch gained more success than he had ever dreamed of however he did not lose sight of his early struggles. He is very committed to the community and has made many substantial philanthropic efforts. The most evident examples are the ‘Little Caesars Love Kitchen’ which was made in 1985 and the ‘Little Caesars Veteran Program’ which gives nobly discharged war veterans business opportunities. Mike IIitch was awarded the Secretary’s Award from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs in 2007 for this effort. He is also founded ‘IIitch Charities for Children’ in 2000 which is a non-profit that focuses on the betterment of children in the fields of education, recreation and health. ‘IIitch Charities’ founded in 2008 addresses issues of unemployment, hunger, homelessness and promotion of economic development. IIitch has received several awards for all his achievements. In 2003 he was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame and in 2004 in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.