Kenneth Gerard Langone Sr., KSG (born September 16, 1935) is an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist, best known for co-founding The Home Depot. He has an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion according to Forbes.
Kenneth Langone was born in Roslyn Heights, New York, to Italian American working-class parents. His father was a plumber and his mother a cafeteria worker. As a student at Bucknell University, Langone worked various jobs; a butcher’s assistant, a caddy and a ditch digger. While at Bucknell, Langone became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. After graduating in three and a half years, Langone headed back to New York, this time to Manhattan instead of Roslyn Heights. There he attended New York University Stern School of Business at night while working full-time during the day. That part-time evening program now bears his name, and is known as the “Langone Program” at NYU.
In the early 1960s, Langone began his career at a Wall Street financial services company named R.W. Pressprich. He soon became a “mover and shaker” in the firm, and a major factor in the development of new business. In 1968 Langone met and wooed Ross Perot into letting Pressprich handle Electronic Data Systems’s IPO. In 1969, Langone would be named Pressprich’s president.
In 1974, Langone left to form a new firm, named Invemed – a venture capital firm that would become hugely successful. Langone began to study the home improvement business and eventually bought stock in Handy Dan, a home improvement chain. This led to a relationship with Handy Dan CEO Bernard Marcus and CFO Arthur Blank. Although a minority shareholder, Langone effectively protected Marcus from issues that arose between Marcus and Sanford Sigiloff, the CEO of The Daylin Corporation, Handy Dan’s parent company. Marcus, however, felt that if Langone sold his interest in Handy Dan, it might actually improve his relationship with Sigiloff. Shortly after Langone sold his Handy Dan stock both Marcus and Blank were fired. Langone organized financing for Marcus and Blank to found Home Depot. Now a national chain with over 300,000 employees, it is Langone’s most notable business venture.