Richard C. Blum

Richard Charles Blum (born July 31, 1935[3]) is an American investor and husband of United States Senator Dianne Feinstein. He is the chairman and president of Blum Capital, an equity investment management firm. Blum has been on the boards of directors of several companies, including CB Richard Ellis, where until May 2009 he served as the chairman of that board. He has been a regent of the University of California since 2002.[4]

Richard C. Blum
Blum at Berkeley (cropped).jpg
Richard Blum
First Gentleman of San Francisco
In role
January 20, 1980 – January 8, 1988
Preceded by Gina Moscone (First Lady)
Succeeded by Sherry Agnos (First Lady)
Personal details
Richard Charles Blum

(1935-07-31) July 31, 1935 (age 85)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Andrea Schwartz
( m. 1959; div. 1977)

( m. 1980)
Education University of California, Berkeley (BS, MBA)
Net worth IncreaseUS$1 billion (2019)[1][2]

Early life and educationEdit

Blum was born in San Francisco, California, to a Jewish family and attended San Francisco public schools.[5] He received his Bachelor of Science in business administration in 1958 and a Master of Business Administration in 1959 from the Haas School of Business of the University of California, Berkeley.[6]

In the 1970s, Blum supported then Mayor of San Francisco George Moscone. After Moscone's assassination, Blum supported the new mayor Dianne Feinstein; they married in 1980.[5] Blum has three daughters from his first marriage to Andrea Schwartz Blum.[7]


Blum founded Blum Capital in 1975.[8] Blum previously served as chairman of the board of directors of CB Richard Ellis,[9][10] as well as serving as director on the boards of directors of three other portfolio companies: Fairmont Raffles Holdings International Ltd., Current Media, L.L.C. and Myer Pty Ltd. in Australia.[11] Blum co-founded Newbridge Capital in 1994.[12]

Blum has served on the boards of multiple companies, including Northwest Airlines Corporation,[13] Glenborough Realty Trust, Inc., Korea First Bank,[10] URS Corporation[14] and National Education Corporation.[15] Blum is also active with non-profit organizations. He is the founder and chairman of the American Himalayan Foundation[16] and is Honorary Consul to Mongolia and Nepal.[17] Blum also serves as a member of the advisory board of the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.[18]

Blum joined investment brokerage Sutro & Co. at the age of 23, becoming a partner before age 30.[5] At Sutro, Blum led a partnership that acquired Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for $8 million, selling it to Mattel four years later for $40 million.[5] On the back of this deal Blum started in business for himself in 1975, founding what is now Blum Capital Partners;[5] a stake in URS Corp. was one of its first investments.[5]

On April 25, 2009, Blum was honored with the Berkeley Medal by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgenau in front of the 14th Dalai Lama. The talk was sponsored by his American Himalayan Foundation and the Blum Center for Developing Economies at UC Berkeley.[19]

On March 12, 2002, Blum was appointed by California Governor Gray Davis to a 12-year term as one of the Regents of the University of California,[20] and he was nominated for re-appointment to another 12-year term in 2014. Blum also serves on the boards of the following companies:

Blum is also the primary owner of Career Education Corporation.[21]


Blum's wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein, has received scrutiny due to her husband's government contracts and extensive business dealings with China and her past votes on trade issues with the country. Blum has denied any wrongdoing.[22] URS Corp, which Blum had a substantial stake in, bought EG&G, a leading provider of technical services and management to the United States military, from The Carlyle Group in 2002; EG&G subsequently won a $600 million defense contract.[5]

Blum and his wife have also received significant scrutiny and criticism due to his 75% stake in contractor Tutor Perini which received hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in military contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan during the US occupation of those countries.[23][24] Critics have argued that business contracts with the US government awarded to a company controlled by Blum raise a potential conflict-of-interest issue with the voting and policy activities of his wife.[25]

In 2009, Feinstein introduced legislation to provide $25 billion in taxpayer money to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, a government agency that had recently awarded her husband's real estate firm, CB Richard Ellis, what The Washington Times called "a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms."[26] The United States Postal Service has entered into an exclusive contract with CB Richard Ellis to sell buildings that currently house post offices.[27]

In 2020, Blum was discovered to have written letters on behalf of unqualified applicants to various UC campus chancellors.[28] The applicants were admitted through student athletics programs, even though, according to a state audit “they possessed little athletic talent.” [29] The audit described Blum's actions as "particularly problematic" as University Regents should not be influencing admissions decisions. [30]

Personal lifeEdit

Blum married San Francisco mayor Dianne Feinstein in 1980.[5] Blum has three daughters from his first marriage to Dr. Andrea Schwartz Blum.[7]

Blum has been a major contributor via the Blum Family Foundation to many charities and educational institutions.

He has a strong interest in Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism, and in 1981 he attempted to climb Mount Everest from the Tibetan side with Sir Edmund Hillary. He is the chairman and founder of the apolitical American Himalayan Foundation (AHF), which has given millions of dollars to build hospitals and schools in Tibet and Nepal but has refrained from political involvement with the Chinese control of Tibet.

Blum has been a trustee of The Carter Center; former co-chairman of The World Conference of Religions for Peace;[10] Member of Governing Council of The Wilderness Society;[6] member of the board of trustees of the Brookings Institution; member of the board of trustees of the American Cancer Society Foundation; member of the board of directors of the National Democratic Institute;[31] and is a member of the board of trustees of the Richard C. Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California, Berkeley, to which he provided $15 million for the center which is focused on finding solutions to address the crisis of extreme poverty and disease in the developing world.[32]

He has given to the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), Merced and Los Angeles (UCLA) and Sonoma State University, as well as Macalester College. He pledged $1.25 million to the University of San Francisco (USF) in 2007, and another $1.5 million to USF for "global education" in 2019.[33] He was awarded the UCSF medal in 2012. [34] He has served on many other boards, including the Seva Foundation and as chairman of the Himalayan Foundation. He has also supported local charities including the San Francisco Food Bank and the John Burton Foundation for Children Without Homes. In the arts and culture, he has made grants to the Creative Visions Foundation, the Daniel Pearl Foundation, San Francisco's Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.[33]


  1. ^ . June 6, 2019 Retrieved October 23, 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ . April 8, 2019 Retrieved October 23, 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "AHF Annual Dinner : Events". American Himalayan Foundation. October 11, 2010. Archived from the original on July 28, 2014.
  4. ^ Tempest, Rone (November 18, 2005). "Deal-Maker's Worlds Mesh at Party in S.F." Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Abate, Tom (May 11, 2003). "The man behind URS, next to Sen. Feinstein". San Francisco Chronicle. pp. I1–I2.
  6. ^ a b "Regent Richard C. Blum". Regents of the University of California. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "San Francisco Mayor Is Planning To Marry an Investment Banker". The New York Times. March 5, 1979.
  8. ^ Zuckerman, Gregory; Eder, Steve (November 11, 2011). "Seeing Winners Become Losers". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  9. ^ Fader, Carole. "Fact Check: Did Sen. Feinstein get a sweetheart deal on post office sales for her husband?". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c "Davis names investor Blum to UC Board of Regents / Husband of Sen. Feinstein is a Berkeley grad". SFGate. March 13, 2002. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  11. ^ "Richard Blum Joins SF Fed Econ Advisory Council". PE Hub. April 1, 2010. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  12. ^ Bunting, Glenn (March 28, 1997). "Feinstein, Husband Hold Strong China Connections". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  13. ^ Sward, Susan (June 12, 2000). "Critics Question Impartiality of SFO Runway Study / Feinstein's husband part-owner of firm conducting report and has 6% stake in Northwest Airlines". SFGate. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  14. ^ Abate, Tom (May 11, 2003). "PROFILE / Richard Blum / The man behind URS, next to Sen. Feinstein". SFGate. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  15. ^ Willman, David (September 16, 1990). "CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS: GOVERNOR : Feinstein Defends Husband's Role in Selloff of Stock". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  16. ^ Groves, Martha (May 27, 1990). "The Man Behind the Woman Who Would Be Governor : Politics: Dianne Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, is a shrewd businessman, a friend of the famous, with a 'Lt. Columbo style' and a passion for distance running and Tibetan treks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  17. ^ "Feinstein's Husband Named to Honorary Post". Los Angeles Times. November 9, 2001. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  18. ^ Ross, Andrew; Matier, Phillip (March 31, 2002). "Costs go up and up for BART's escalators". SFGate. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  19. ^ Chang, Elizabeth (April 27, 2009). "Berkeley Welcomes Dalai Lama". The Daily Californian. Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  20. ^ Lederman, Doug (March 3, 2008). "At U. of California, a Systemic Governance Crisis". Archived from the original on January 9, 2009.
  21. ^ Parish, Will; Bond-Graham, Darwin (February 26, 2010). "DiFi and Blum: a Marriage Marinated in Money". CounterPunch.
  22. ^ Paddock, Richard C. (March 27, 2007). "Feinstein's husband steps out of her shadow". The Mercury News.
  23. ^ "Windfalls of War: Perini Corporation". The Center for Public Integrity. Archived from the original on March 12, 2008. Retrieved December 7, 2008. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ "Winning Contractors". The Center for Public Integrity. October 30, 2003. Retrieved July 29, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ Byrne, Peter (January 24, 2007). "Senator Feinstein's Iraq Conflict: Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions to her husband's firms". North Bay Bohemian. Archived from the original on February 11, 2007.
  26. ^ Neubauer, Chuck (April 21, 2009). "Exclusive: Senator's husband's firm cashes in on crisis". The Washington Times.
  27. ^ Romney, Lee (December 7, 2013). "Berkeley making the rounds to save its historic post office". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 9, 2013. Riling many here is the exclusive deal with CBRE Group, whose chairman, Richard Blum, is married to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  28. ^ "Dianne Feinstein's husband identified as UC regent who recommended less qualified student". The Mercury News. September 24, 2020. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  29. ^ "Audit blasts UC Berkeley, UCLA for admitting rich donor kids over more qualified applicants". The Mercury News. September 22, 2020. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  30. ^ "Report 2019-113". Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  31. ^ "NDI Board of Directors: Richard Blum". National Democratic Institute. Retrieved October 2, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  32. ^ Maclay, Kathleen (April 19, 2006). "Richard Blum gives $15 million to fund center to alleviate poverty". University of Berkeley.
  33. ^ a b Hollowell, Ashleigh (April 30, 2019). "Educating Global Learners and Leaders with a Gift of $1.5 Million". University of San Francisco. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  34. ^ "UCSF Medal". Office of the Chancellor. Retrieved July 1, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit