Rick J. Caruso

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Recognized as a business innovator, civic leader and philanthropist, Rick J. Caruso is founder and chief executive officer of Caruso Affiliated, one of the largest, privately held real estate companies in the U.S., whose portfolio of world-class retail and mixed-use properties attracts tens of millions of guests each year.  Combining architectural and design excellence, open- and green-space elements, one-of-a-kind guest experiences and a commitment to serving the local community, Caruso Affiliated is an undisputed leader and the industry’s most admired real estate development firm in the country. Some of its properties include the highest-grossing retail centers in the world, including The Grove; The Americana at Brand; The Residences at The Americana at Brand; The Commons at Calabasas; The Promenade at Westlake; Waterside, Marina Del Rey, along with 8500 Burton Way, Caruso Affiliated’s premier luxury residential property.

A native of Los Angeles, Caruso earned a bachelor of science degree with honors from the University of Southern California in 1980, and a J.D. degree as a Margaret Martin Block Scholar from Pepperdine University in 1983.  He started his professional career as a real estate lawyer at Finley Kumble as a member of the firm’s corporate finance department. Thereafter, Caruso chose to pursue his passion of real estate development and transitioned from law in 1987 to establish Caruso Affiliated.  Eschewing the traditional mall approach to retail, he revolutionized the industry with imaginative shopping and entertainment destinations that serve as “town centers,” reflecting the unique character of their surrounding communities.

Caruso has been an active civic leader for nearly three decades.  In 1985, Mayor Tom Bradley appointed him commissioner for the L.A. Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest municipal utility, becoming the youngest commissioner in the city’s history. In 2001, Mayor James Hahn appointed him to the L.A. Board of Police Commissioners. Caruso was soon elected the commission’s president and led the selection process for William Bratton to become the new Los Angeles Chief of Police.  

Charitable efforts define Rick Caruso as much as his many business and civic accomplishments.  In 1991 he founded the Caruso Family Foundation, dedicated to supporting organizations that improve the lives of at-risk children in Los Angeles, with a special focus on healthcare and education.  Caruso is involved with Operation Progress, St. Lawrence of Brindisi School (K-8), and Verbum Dei High School—all part of his commitment to providing opportunities, including education and mentorship, to the kids in the Watts community. He is lead donor and on the board for Para Los Ninos, and he is also on the boards for St. John´s Health Center Foundation and The California Medical Center, and serves as a trustee for the University of Southern California and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, as well as Pepperdine´s School of Law Board of Visitors.  Most recently, he endowed the Caruso Catholic Center and Our Savior Parish Church at USC.

Among his numerous awards and honors, Caruso was named one of the city’s most influential leaders by the Los Angeles Times, "Developer of the Year" by the Los Angeles Business Journal, and in May 2013, he received the "True Blue" award from the Los Angeles Police Foundation.  In 2006, public television station KCET honored Caruso with its "Visionary Award," recognizing him as a leader dedicated to positive change in Southern California through philanthropic, business and civic leadership.  Recently, Ernst & Young LLC bestowed upon him its 2012 "Master Entrepreneur of the Year" Award for Greater Los Angeles.

A coveted speaker on real estate and business trends, Rick Caruso is a regular keynote speaker and panelist at global forums such as the Urban Land Institute, Milken Institute Global Conference, National Retail Federation, Pepperdine University and International Council of Shopping Centers, among other forums.  He has also lectured at USC, UCLA, and the Kennedy School of Public Administration at Harvard University.

Follow Rick J. Caruso on Twitter @RickCarusoLA.
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