GORDON GUND. Mr. Gund has served as a Kellogg Director since 1986. He is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gund Investment Corporation, which manages diversified investment activities. He is also a director of Corning Incorporated.
Gund is no ordinary heir. He began investing in the 1970s, around the same time he went blind. He bought stakes in the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, biotech company Gilead Sciences Inc. and Align Technology Inc., whose clear plastic aligners have been embraced by patients seeking to fix wonky teeth without the metal wires and brackets of traditional braces.
His Align stake, valued at $29 million at the company’s 2001 initial public offering, is now worth $1.7 billion, propelling Gund’s net worth to at least $2.3 billion.
Gund and his siblings trace their wealth to their father, George Gund II, who bought the U.S. patent for decaffeinated coffee after it was stripped from its German owner during World War I. He commercialized the process before selling the Kaffee Hag brand to Kellogg Co. in the late 1920s for $10 million, mostly in stock. Today, the Gund family remains one of the cereal maker’s biggest shareholders with a 7.5 percent stake, worth about $1.6 billion.
Gund suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease, and has been blind since 1970. Helping find a cure for blindness is taking up much of his time. He co-founded the Foundation Fighting Blindness in 1971 and, with his wife Llura and wider family, has contributed more than $200 million for research to cure blinding retinal diseases.