see "Death of a Giant" (Sydney Morning Herald, 12/28/05)
and "Kerry Packer" (Bio/Obit, Telegraph UK, 12/27/05)
Many of you who don't follow world-wide corporate intrigue or cricket or the Australian news might not have heard of Kerry Packer, who died yesterday at the age of 68. Given his reputation has a hard-drinking hard-smoking party animal, it's not a big surprise that he died at a relatively young age.
He was one of the most colorful, aggressive, and successful businessmen on the planet, as well as a hell of a gambler.
He made much of his fortune in broadcasting and publishing. To be fair, he inherited an empire to begin with but unlike most spoiled rich kids he actually built upon it rather than frittering it away.
In Forbes' 2005 article of the world's richest people, Packer ranked 94th at over $5 billion.
My favorite Kerry Packer story, which might be urban legend, is briefly mentioned in the Telegraph piece above, but I'll note it here the way I heard it:
Packer is sitting at a blackjack table in vegas next to a loud Texan (probably complete with cowboy hat and boots). The Texan is blabbering on at high volume, annoying Packer who asks him to keep it down. The Texan says "Do you know who I am? I'm (so-and-so) and I'm worth sixty million dollars." Packer looks at him for a moment and says "Flip you for it."
Whatever you think of Packer and people like him, they certainly make the world more interesting.