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Anthony J.F. O’Reilly, an enthralling, high-flying, Irish-born former chairman of the H.J. Heinz Firm, who additionally owned newspapers, luxurious manufacturers and trophy properties in France and the Bahamas, solely to lose practically every thing in his eighth decade, died on Might 18 in Dublin. He was 88.

The Irish Instances and different Irish newspapers, citing a household spokesman, reported that he died in a hospital. No trigger was given.

From his earliest days, Mr. O’Reilly, who was often called Tony, displayed a humiliation of presents. He was an elite-level rugby participant whereas nonetheless in his teenagers — the “redheaded pinup boy of Irish rugby,” as The Guardian put it. His expertise for enterprise was equally precocious.

At 26, because the advertising and marketing head of the Irish Dairy Board, he created the model Kerrygold to promote Irish butter to English grocery consumers; it’s nonetheless one of many nation’s greatest recognized world exports.

Mr. O’Reilly was recruited by Heinz to run its companies in Britain in 1969, then moved to the corporate’s Pittsburgh headquarters, the place he rose to chief govt and have become the primary chairman from exterior the Heinz household. Beneath his management, Heinz’s worth elevated twelvefold. Enterprise Week referred to as him “one of many world’s most charismatic businessmen.”

“He has one million tales and tells all of them nicely,” a Heinz director, Richard M. Cyert, instructed Enterprise Week in 1997. “If you sit right down to lunch with him, it’s like going to a movie show for leisure.”

Mr. O’Reilly performed tennis on the White Home with President George H.W. Bush, who reportedly thought-about him for commerce secretary. He helped create the Eire Funds, whose promotion of peace tasks in Northern Eire undermined fund-raising by the Irish Republican Military amongst Irish Individuals. Queen Elizabeth II knighted him for his service to Northern Eire in 2001.

Mr. O’Reilly had a extremely uncommon association at Heinz that allowed him additionally to construct his personal enterprise empire. He would fly to Dublin within the firm Gulfstream jet after work on Friday, becoming in conferences and generally a rugby match. Then he’d jet again to Pittsburgh to be in his workplace by 8 a.m. Monday.

Maybe extra efficiently than another entrepreneur, he rode the Irish financial increase of the Nineteen Nineties and 2000s often called the Celtic Tiger, turning into the nation’s richest man and reportedly its first billionaire.

He established his newspaper group, Unbiased Information & Media, with the acquisition of The Irish Unbiased, the nation’s main newspaper, in 1973. It grew to incorporate greater than 100 properties, together with The Unbiased of London and papers in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, bringing Mr. O’Reilly entry and affect with political leaders.

In 1990, he purchased Waterford Wedgwood, the Anglo-Irish crystal and china firm, with the ambition to construct it into a world luxurious group alongside the traces of Gucci and LVMH.

Mr. O’Reilly acquired the approach to life and well-known associates to match his status companies. His Irish base was Castlemartin, a 750-acre property, the place President Invoice Clinton and Nelson Mandela had been company.

He additionally had a Georgian mansion in Dublin, a beachfront dwelling on Lyford Cay within the Bahamas and a chateau in Deauville, France. His artwork assortment included a $24.2 million Monet and works by Picasso and Matisse.

Though Mr. O’Reilly constructed his fortune along with his ample compensation from Heinz, the corporate’s humdrum manufacturers didn’t replicate his aspirational tastes. He as soon as stated of Heinz’s ubiquitous ketchup, according to The Irish Times, “We’ve got been producing it, like chunk, chunk, chunk, each day in 100 factories world wide.” Proudly owning newspapers, alternatively, supplied “greater than you may get out of baked beans,” he stated.

It didn’t cease him from lavishly spending Heinz’s cash in an effort to impart glamour to the corporate. He flew a whole bunch of company to Eire for an annual gala ball and a thoroughbred race, the Heinz 57 Stakes.

In 1996, Forbes named him the fourth highest-paid chief govt in the USA, at the same time as the corporate’s enterprise outcomes had upset for a number of years. “Tony O’Reilly’s ego and paycheck are larger than his accomplishments,” the journal wrote.

He stepped down as Heinz’s chief govt the subsequent yr, although he remained its chairman till 2000. In his early 60s, he turned his full-time consideration to his personal companies, which, along with newspapers and luxurious wares, included oil exploration and an organization that transformed castles into inns.

Like many enterprise empires, Mr. O’Reilly’s was constructed on debt. When the worldwide monetary disaster blew in like a Class 5 hurricane in 2008, his ventures buckled. He misplaced management of his media properties to a longtime rival Irish tycoon, Denis O’Brien.

In 2009, Waterford Wedgewood, into which Mr. O’Reilly had poured massive private sums, failed and went into receivership.

Pursued by collectors, he offered a lot of his artworks and his beloved Castlemartin, which the American telecom billionaire John Malone purchased for 7.4 million euros, or about $10.2 million, in 2015.

Legal professionals for Mr. O’Reilly stated he owed eight banks €195 million, or about $268.9 million, on the time. In 2015, when he was 79, he declared chapter within the Bahamas.

Anthony John Francis O’Reilly was born on Might 7, 1936, in Dublin, the one baby of John and Aileen O’Conner. His father was a civil servant.

In response to a 2015 biography of Mr. O’Reilly, “The Maximalist,” by Matt Cooper, Tony, as he was recognized, discovered when he was 15 that his dad and mom weren’t married. His father had left a spouse, with whom he had 4 youngsters, for Tony’s mom. The couple formally wed within the mid-Seventies.

Tony O’Reilly’s elite rugby profession started in 1955 at age 19, when he toured internationally with the Lions, a group composed of one of the best gamers in Britain and Eire. He was the youngest participant on the Lions and nonetheless holds its document for essentially the most tries — the equal of a soccer landing — scored in take a look at matches (video games towards different nationwide or regional groups).

On a rugby tour of Australia, Mr. O’Reilly met Susan Cameron, whom he married in 1962. That they had six youngsters, together with triplets, earlier than divorcing in 1990. His second spouse, Chryss Goulandris, a Greek transport heiress whom he married in 1991, died last year.

Mr. O’Reilly is survived by his sons Anthony Cameron, Gavin and St. John Anthony; his daughters Susan Wildman, Justine O’Reilly and Caroline Dempsey; and 23 grandchildren.

In 2018, Mr. O’Reilly addressed associates and former teammates who had gathered in his honor on the Previous Belvedere Rugby Membership in Dublin.

“You win and also you lose,” he said, “and if you happen to don’t know how one can lose, you don’t know how one can dwell.”

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