Saturday, December 14th | 16 Kislev 5780
Israeli-born billionaire Idan Ofer donated £25 million to the London Business School, the largest single donation ever made to a UK business school, to be named The Sammy Ofer Centre, in honor of Ofer’s late father, the UK’s Jewish Chronicle reported.
The high-profile donation from a family known for making large public donations comes a month after South African Jewish billionaire Nathan Kirsh donated £10 million to the LBS.
Ofer, 57, graduated from the LBS with an MBA in the 1980s and went on to build his fortune — today estimated at over £4 billion — in shipping and energy. Ofer and brother Eyal co-own Sammy Ofer Group Monaco, the family business, which boasts the largest fleet of British-flagged ships in the world.
The donation to the LBS was made through the Idan and Batia Ofer Foundation and will fund the redevelopment of the Old Marylebone Town Hall, in central London, acquired in 2012 to become a campus building. Construction work at the site begins next month and it’s expected to be complete by 2016. The building will increase teaching space at the LBS by 70 per cent.
In a statement, Ofer said: “My father considered investment in education to have the highest return for the company. He invested heavily in education at the individual and institutional level, and I am proud to continue this tradition. One of the goals is to ensure the next generation of Israeli entrepreneurs is equipped to cope with the challenges of globalisation. The LBS is at the forefront of helping to meet these challenges. The Foundation hopes in this small way to contribute to economic growth in the region, ultimately improving the prospects for peace and stability.”
Ofer’s brother Eyal made headlines when he donated £10 million to London’s Tate Modern Museum, through the Eyal Ofer Family Foundation, this year, the Jewish Chronicle said, adding that there is a wing at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich named after Sammy Ofer, who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, after his £20 million donation in 2008.
Ofer, who was the richest man in Israel before moving to London this year with his wife Batia, sparked a debate on tax evasion in Israel when he moved away.