Published on July 18, 2016
Charles Francis “Chuck” Feeney
(born April 23, 1931) is an Irish-American businessman and philanthropist and the founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the largest private foundations in the world. He made his fortune as a co-founder, with Robert Warren Miller, of the Duty Free Shoppers Group. The concept of “duty-free shopping”—offering high-end concessions to travelers, free of import taxes—was in its infancy when, along with Miller, Feeney founded DFS on November 7, 1960. DFS began operations in Hong Kong (where it retains its headquarters), later expanding to Europe and other continents. DFS’ first major breakthrough came in the early 1960s, when it secured the exclusive concession for duty-free sales in Hawaii, allowing it to market its products to Japanese travelers.
DFS eventually expanded to off-airport duty-free stores and large downtown Galleria stores, and became the world’s largest travel retailer. In 1996, Miller’s and Feeney’s interests were acquired by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH), the French luxury goods group, for $1.63 billion. In March 2011, Feeney was inducted into Irish America magazine’s Hall of Fame. In 1997, Time Magazine said: “Feeney’s beneficence already ranks among the grandest of any living American.”