Hassan Khosrowshahi was honoured with the Order of Canada in June, which doubtlessly meant something to an immigrant who fled Iran in 1980 after his family’s Minoo Group was nationalized by the revolutionary government. But his name has also been sullied lately: The NDP Opposition accused the B.C. government of selling land in Coquitlam to Khosrowshahi’s Wesbild Holdings for well below its assessed value. (Khosrowshahi has long been a top donor to the Liberal Party.)
The most visible sign of Khosrowshahi’s business success was wiped from Canada in 2015. Future Shop, the electronics retailer he started in 1982 and sold for $580 million in 2001, was consolidated out of existence by acquirer Best Buy. But Persis, the Khosrowshahi family holding company, has long since moved from selling things to licencing them. Son Behzad runs DRI Capital, a pharmaceutical royalty firm, while daughter Golnar founded Reservoir Media, a music licencing business that owns the rights to tracks by artists from Bananarama to Beyoncé. Persis also has hundreds of millions in real estate holdings.
Side note: The Midas touch evidently runs in the extended family. Dara Khosrowshahi, a relative (nephew or cousin), who was just nine when the family left Iran—in his case, to settle in the United States—is now president and CEO of Expedia Inc., based in suburban Seattle. The Associated Press declared him the highest-paid chief executive in the U.S. in 2015, earning US$94.6 million.