S.I. Newhouse is the diminutive hands-on chairman and CEO of Advance Publications, the media conglomerate that controls Conde Naste, the publisher of more than two dozen magazines including Vogue, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker.
It was Si's father, Samuel Irving Newhouse (né Solomon Neuhaus), who founded the family media empire that Si now oversees with his brother, Donald. The child of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Sam Newhouse dropped out of school at 13 and was still a teenager when he was handed the management of the ailing Bayonne Times. He turned the paper around, went on to buy the Fitchburg News when he was 25, and acquired dozens of papers over the next two decades, building one of the largest newspaper conglomerates in the country. In 1959, he diversified into magazines when he spent $5 million to buy Condé Nast, a purchase largely inspired by his fashion-obsessed wife, Mitzi. (As the story goes, she asked her husband to buy her a copy of Vogue, he ended up buying the whole company.) It was shortly after the acquisition of Condé Nast that Sam and Mitzi's son, Samuel Jr. (or Si), immersed himself in the family business.
Si was raised with his brother Donald at 730 Park in Manhattan and Greenlands, the family's country estate in New Jersey. Educated at Horace Mann and Syracuse, he didn't seem especially interested in joining his father during his younger years (probably because he was the less-liked son). He came round, though, and learned the business under his father's watchful eye, ultimately assuming control along with his brother following Sam's death in 1979. Today Si and Donald oversee one of the largest privately-held companies in the U.S. with annual revenues of more than $7 billion and more than 20,000 employees. Si looks after Condé Nast, the company's portfolio of magazines, while Donald tends to Advance's newspaper assets. During the 1980s and '90s, he expanded significantly, acquiring magazines like the New Yorker, Details, GQ, Wired, and those under Fairchild Publications; he's also launched new publications, like Lucky (one of the most successful new magazine launches), Teen Vogue, (Of course, he's closed down a handful of underperformers as well, like Cargo, Jane, House & Garden, and the money hemorrhaging Portfolio.)
Much has been made of Newhouse's management style: A mercurial micro-manager of epic proportions, he is also famous for his "crushes" on pet editors, many of whom became household names under his patronage. His eye for talent may very well go down as his greatest legacy: Over three decades, he has groomed editor all-stars - Tina Brown, Graydon Carter, James Truman, and Anna Wintour—although he is equally known for his cold dismissal of underwhelming performers. With a net worth estimated at 8 billion dollars, he has made every Forbes list of Richest Americans since it began over 28 years ago, but prefers to remain out of the spotlight.
Si is married to his second wife, Victoria Newhouse, who was known as Victoria Carrington Benedict de Ramel prior to their marriage. (She was previously married to a French count.) Si was married to his first wife Jane Franke for eight years, a marriage that produced three kids: S.I. Newhouse III (the father of S.I. Newhouse IV, who appeared in Jamie Johnson's documentary Born Rich); Wynn, who almost lost his arm in an accident at one of his father's publishing plants and now lives in Boston; and his youngest, Pamela Newhouse.
Si and Victoria have an apartment at the UN Plaza and homes in Bellport and Palm Beach, all three of which are decorated with Newhouse's vast collection of art (he's one of the world's most important art collectors) including works by Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns.