Bernie Marcus

Co-Founder, The Home Depot

Industry: Retail

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Co-founder of Home Depot home improvement stores in 1978, the fastest growing retailer in U.S. history, employing more than 300,000 people in nearly 2,000 stores throughout the U.S., Canada, China and Mexico. Served as Home Depot Chief Executive Officer for the corporation’s first 19 years, then chairman of the board before retiring in 2002.

Founded the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) in 1991, a nonpartisan think tank in Israel dedicated to promoting and defending democracy in that country.

Founder and chairman of the Marcus Foundation, which focuses giving on children, medical research, free enterprise, Jewish causes, and the Atlanta community. Marcus Foundation legacies include Atlanta’s $290 million aquarium, the Marcus Institute for children with disabilities and learning disorders, Autism Speaks, and a state-of-the-art bioterrorism unit at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

I am concerned about the free-enterprise system in this country. The population coming up, the young people are beginning to think that it’s an evil thing, and it’s really not evil. All the good that’s come in this country, all the things we have, that we profit from, come out of the free enterprise system.