Reginald F. Lewis was one of the most successful African-American businessmen of the 20th century and the first Black businessman to purchase a company for $1 billion.
In 1992, Forbes listed Lewis as one of the 400 richest Americans, with a net worth of $400 million. Born in Baltimore, Lewis grew up in a middle-class neighborhood. He won a football scholarship to Virginia State University, graduating with a degree in economics in 1965. Lewis graduated from Harvard Law School in 1968.
Immediately after law school he was recruited to top New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, but left to start his own firm two years later. After 15 years as a corporate lawyer with his own practice, he created TLC Group L.P., a venture capital firm in 1983. In 1987, Lewis purchased the international operations of the Beatrice Cos. for $985 million. With Lewis’ purchase, it became the first Black-owned company to have more than $1 billion in annual sales. At its peak in 1996, TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc. had sales of $2.2 billion and was number 512 on Fortune magazine's list of 1,000 largest companies. He died in 1993 at age 50 from brain cancer.
BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
TRENDING IN NEWS