Emperors-in-waiting: Richard LeFrak grooming sons to take over empire

March 18, 2013 09:00AM

Real estate titan Richard LeFrak is focused on grooming his two sons to be future leaders of the sprawling family business, the Wall Street Journal reported.

LeFrak took the helm at the LeFrak Organization when his father and legendary builder Sam LeFrak passed away. LeFrak expanded his father’s holdings to include energy and banking in recent years, bringing the family fortune to $5.4 billion, according to Forbes. “He was a big personality,” LeFrak told the Journal about his father. “Sometimes there’s only room for one of those in the room.” 

Though still very much in the thick of things, LeFrak spends a lot of his time ensuring that his sons James and Harrison take their own initiative on major development projects. One of the organizations next projects, spearheaded by Harrison, is likely to be a 190-acre Miami site known as Biscayne Landing, one of the largest development sites in the area.

“Increasing our exposure to Florida was more of Harry’s idea,” LeFrak told the Journal.

The brothers have gravitated towards different responsibilities within the mammoth organization, and company insiders say they have very different management styles. Harrison, 41, looks after financial and legal matters, and is thought to be of as intense and strict. James, 39, oversees new development projects, and is known to be more easygoing and flexible.

For his part, LeFrak is pleased with his sons’ progress. “I’m a very lucky man because I know that the next generation of LeFrak is capable of making it even larger,” he told the Journal. [WSJ]  –Hiten Samtani