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Famous Splits

A look at what happened when well-known husband and wife entrepreneurial teams decided to divorce. Includes what each partner left with, and the present status of their companies.
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They started out as business partners. What he got, what she got, and what happened next

GALE AND FRED HAYMAN

Year married: 1966

Business: Giorgio Beverly Hills, founded in 1961 by George Grant and Fred Hayman--a women's wear boutique that spawned the ubiquitous Giorgio perfume. Hayman bought the business from Grant in 1962, though a creative bastardization of his name stayed with the company.

His role: A veteran of the hotel industry, he wrote the business plan, set budgets, did the buying, created all promotional plans, and monitored the company's finances.

Her role: "I had an instinct for what sold," says Gale. She started working for the boutique as a buyer when she was 19 years old. She also takes credit for the wildly successful Giorgio fragrance line. "It was the pivotal product for the company," she says.

Year divorced: 1983

What he got: 51% of the company

What she got: 49% of the company

Then what? For four years following the divorce, the couple worked together but clashed over the business. In 1987 they sold the company to Avon Products and split the proceeds, $165 million. Avon sold the company to Procter & Gamble in 1994 for $150 million. Both Haymans started new companies. Fred opened a new high-end fashion boutique at the original location. It closed last May, and he leased the space to Louis Vuitton. Gale's Beverly Hills Cosmetics skin-care business moved to New York City six years ago and merged with another privately held business.


DEBBI AND RANDY FIELDS

Year married: 1976

Business: Mrs. Fields Inc., a gourmet-cookie retailer founded by Debbi in August 1977. Randy was an officer from the beginning.

His role: He specialized in finance and technology.

Her role: She ran marketing and handled employee and product development.

Year divorced: 1996

What he got: The software start-up the Park City Group, built around technology developed at Mrs. Fields and founded in 1990. He dove into it after leaving Mrs. Fields (the company) that year. The Fieldses sold the $100-million cookie business to an investor group four years later. In the divorce, Randy and Debbi split the assets.

What she got: A full-time gig. She's still on the board and is a consultant and publicity generator for the company.

Then what? Randy and Debbi share custody of their five daughters. Randy's company, which made the 1995 Inc. 500, had sales of $10 million last year.


SUSIE AND DOUG TOMPKINS

Year married: 1963

Business: Esprit de Corp., a junior women's clothier that peaked in 1986 with worldwide revenues of $1 billion

His role: He took care of the business behind the racks.

Her role: She went to the Paris couture shows and returned with fashion ideas.

Year divorced: 1989

What he got: Control of the company--for a time.

What she got: Bounced out of the company at first. Then she and an investor group bought her ex-husband's stock in June 1990. Two years later she resigned as fashion director of the company.

Then what? Susie and Doug both left Esprit with plenty of money. Susie now runs a foundation that distributes charitable funds primarily to organizations that help young girls and women. Doug's two foundations support ecological efforts. Of her Esprit years, Susie says, "Working together is very difficult because the business becomes the focus of your relationship. It's nice if you can maintain that your family is the most important thing--but, in fact, it is not if you have a dramatic, dynamic business. You've got to be totally devoted to that."


LUCILLE BALL AND DESI ARNAZ

Year married: 1940

Business: Desilu Productions, an amalgam of the couple's television production house and RKO Studios

His role: Arnaz was an astute businessman--he developed the idea of syndicating reruns of television shows. He also negotiated the purchase of RKO--one of Hollywood's original film studios--for $6 million in 1957.

Her role: She was the comedienne. But like her husband, she was a talented entrepreneur--the first female star to make a fortune in television by owning her own company.

Year divorced: 1960

What he got: An undisclosed cash settlement. She bought his share of the company in 1962.

What she got: Control of Desilu, which she ran for five years.

Then what? Ball sold Desilu to Gulf & Western for $17 million in 1967. Arnaz died in 1986; Ball died three years later. --Mike Hofman

Last updated: Sep 1, 1998




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