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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Crossover, Newcomers Highlight OC 50

Wealth doesn’t necessarily translate into power in Orange County, but the two do cross paths.

That’s apparent in this week’s OC 50, the Business Journal’s annual profile of the most influential members of the business community here.

There are 15 individuals on this year’s OC 50—nearly 30% of the total—who also have made our annual OC’s Wealthiest list, which runs in August and includes people with a fortune estimated at $250 million or more.

This year’s OC 50 (see pullout for entries) includes nine of the top 10 members of the annual wealthiest list, with the lone exception being Broadcom Corp. cofounder Henry Nicholas. He once was a regular on the OC 50 but no longer has a role at the chipmaker and generally keeps a low public profile.

It’s a safe bet that the trend of crossover between the OC 50 and OC’s Wealthiest lists will continue later this year.


• Former Allergan Inc. Chief Executive David Pyott, a longtime member of the OC 50, is expected to make the wealthiest list after cashing out some $534 million of the Irvine drugmaker’s stock following its sale to Actavis PLC.

Allergan’s market value grew from $2.3 billion in 1998, the year Pyott arrived, to about $72.5 billion at the time of the deal’s close.

He remains on the OC 50 despite his recent departure from the combined Allergan-Actavis due to his expected role on corporate boards, academia and philanthropic endeavors.

We haven’t selected a replacement from the remaining local operations of Allergan, which is undergoing a reorganization in the wake of the sale this year (see related story, page 1).

There were plenty of changes elsewhere on this year’s OC 50 as a result of sales, retirements and corporate restructurings, as well as decisions we’ve made to better reflect Orange County’s multifaceted business landscape.

This year’s OC 50 has 10 new entries and 11 new members—there are several entries that include more than one person, making for a total of 53 individuals. That gives it one of the highest rates of turnover in the 22-year history of the list.

One change driven by a major acquisition led to the departure of Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey from the list. His virtual reality company moved its headquarters and most of its remaining operations from Irvine to Silicon Valley following its $2 billion sale to Facebook.

Among other departures:

• Greg Creed, formerly the chief executive of OC’s largest restaurant chain, Taco Bell Corp., is off the list after he was promoted to head Taco Bell’s parent company in Kentucky, Yum! Brands Inc.

• A promotion for longtime local Kaiser Permanente head Julie Miller-Phipps, who moved to Atlanta for a new position, led to her removal. She’s been replaced on OC 50 by Kaiser’s Mark Costa, who now oversees the OC operations of the region’s largest healthcare operator.


• We’ve included a new joint entry for Anton Segerstrom and Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, who now appear to be the public faces for the family operations that run South Coast Plaza and other properties in Costa Mesa following the February passing of OC icon Henry Segerstrom.

• Another newcomer is Costa Mesa-based developer Shaheen Sadeghi, whose Lab Holdings LLC added another forward-looking center to its portfolio in the past year: the Anaheim Packing House.

Two other newcomers are returnees:

• Vinny Smith, the former chief executive of Quest Software, was taken off the list after he sold the Aliso Viejo-based company in 2012 to Dell for $2.8 billion.

He’s back this year, thanks to his role in Newport Beach-based Toba Capital, a company he cofounded a few years ago that’s now OC’s largest venture capital firm.

• Former Pacific Investment Management Co. Chief Executive Mohamed El-Erian—who remains an adviser at Germany-based parent company Allianz Group and has been increasingly in the public eye through his government ties and media appearances—is back on the list after a one-year departure.

El-Erian—himself a likely candidate to make our next edition of OC’s Wealthiest—is one of three entries with direct ties to Newport Beach-based Pimco. He joins new entry Douglas Hodge, who was appointed the new chief executive of Pimco last year, just prior to the departure of bond king Bill Gross.

Gross, now with Janus Capital Group, remains on the list.

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Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the Orange County Business Journal, one of the premier regional business newspapers in the country. He’s the fifth person to hold the editor’s position in the paper’s long history. He oversees a staff of about 15 people. The OCBJ is considered a must-read for area business executives. The print edition of the paper is the primary source of local news for most of the Business Journal’s subscribers, which includes most of OC’s major corporate and community players. Mark’s been with the paper since 2005, and long served as the real estate reporter for the paper, breaking hundreds of commercial and residential real estate stories. He took on the editor’s position in 2018.

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