- 14 Jun, 23
John Menard: Famous Billionaire Businessman
In this article titled “Who is John Menard 101: Famous Billionaire Businessman?” on Zatrun.com, we will delve into everything you need to know about the renowned billionaire businessman, John Menard.
Table of Contents
Who is John Menard?
John Robert Menard Jr., an American billionaire businessman, is the founder and owner of the Menards chain. He was born on January 22, 1940, and was formerly the owner of an INDYCAR racing team. Menard is also the father of former NASCAR Cup Series driver Paul Menard. Menard, whose father was John Robert Menard Sr. (1917-1988), operates a chain of home improvement stores in the Midwest. As of June 11, 2021, Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranked John Menard as the 103rd richest person in the world with a net worth of $18.9 billion.
Life and Education:
John Menard, the oldest child of a Catholic family of German, French-Canadian, and Norwegian descent, attended Eau Claire Regis High School. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in business and a minor in psychology. Menard began his career by building box structures with his university friends and founded his home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He has six children and married his third wife, Faiha Obaid, in 2008.
In 1997, Menard was accused of using his own pickup truck to transport plastic bags filled with wood ash containing chromium and arsenic along with his household waste to dispose of them. He was found guilty without admitting to the charges of record-keeping violations, illegal transportation, and improper disposal of hazardous waste. John Menard and his company were fined $1.7 million for 21 violations.
In 2013, the IRS announced that Menard had to pay $6 million in back taxes for misidentifying $20 million in stock profits as salary expenses. In a separate lawsuit, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered John Menard to pay $1.6 million in compensation to a former legal advisor for gender discrimination and excessive pay. In April 2020, Menard was among several businessmen named to the economic advisory group formed by President Donald Trump.
John Menard Jr. opened his first hardware store in 1964, and as of 2022, his company operates 335 Menards stores. By 2005, Menards’ estimated sales exceeded $5.5 billion. According to Forbes 400, Menard had a net worth of $8.6 billion in 2013 and is considered the wealthiest person in Wisconsin. In 2013, Menard removed former investment partner Stephen Hilbert, who owned a 20% stake in MH Equity, from his position for mismanaging assets and resources.
Menard harbors a distinct hostility towards organized labor. He has instituted a strict ban on hiring anyone who is a union member. One employee recounted having to terminate two promising management candidates because they worked as baggers in a unionized supermarket during their high school years. Managers at Menards see a 60% reduction in their salaries when stores become unionized. Additionally, managers must agree to pay $100 per minute for violations such as opening late, and they must submit any disputes to mediation rather than litigation.
Involvement in Motorsports:
Paul Menard, the son of John Menard Jr., raced in the NASCAR Cup Series for sixteen years and won the 2011 Brickyard 400. Menard also owns a motor shop in England where he produces engines for Team Menard and Robby Gordon Motorsports. Team Menard, which was formerly owned by Menard, won the 1997 and 1999 Indy Racing League championships. Menards is one of the primary sponsors of Team Penske’s #2 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Cup Series. They are also one of the primary sponsors of Ryan Blaney’s #12 Mustang, who is Menard’s teammate in the series.
In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Menards sponsors the Joe Gibbs Racing #19 Toyota Supra driven by Brandon Jones, while in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Menards sponsors the ThorSport Racing #88 Toyota Tundra driven by Matt Crafton. Menards has also collaborated with names such as Robby Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Martin Truex Jr. in different series. Menard also sponsored Frank Kimmel in the ARCA RE/MAX Series for several years. After RE/MAX refused to renew their sponsorship agreement, Menards became the primary sponsor and changed the series’ name to the ARCA Menards Series. Menards-sponsored cars are easily recognizable on the tracks as they typically use fluorescent yellow paint.
In January 2008, John Menard donated $15 million to support the Luther Midelfort Hospital in Eau Claire. The donation was used for a new emergency department and helped train and educate the hospital’s healthcare professionals. In 2015, Menard donated $10 million to support the Eau Claire Area YMCA, which helped build an eight-court indoor tennis facility known as the John and Fay Menard YMCA Tennis Center, replacing the five-court LE Phillips Tennis Center, which was opened in 1972.
In 2019, the Menard family donated $5 million to the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. The donation supports the center’s research, events, student enrichment, as well as a donated course and an annual national conference. Menard, who supports conservative causes, has also donated to political groups associated with the Koch brothers.