Photo courtesy of TGG Group
Born in Tehran, Hamid Biglari immigrated to the U.S. in 1977 to study mathematics and physics at Cornell University. After earning his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Princeton in 1987, he became a theoretical physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. There he wrote a highly influential paper on improving the efficiency of an experimental fusion reactor called a Tokamak. When defense spending shrank after the Cold War, Biglari changed careers, becoming an associate at the management consultancy McKinsey & Co. In 2000, he joined Citigroup to become Chief Operating Officer of its global investment-banking and trading and sales arm, and later the Vice Chairman and Head of Emerging Markets. In 2009, Biglari was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, given to immigrants for outstanding contributions to the United States.