Feeney, Charles (Chuck) Francis

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Basic Biographical Information

Charles Francis Feeney was born on 23 April 1931 in Elizabeth, New Jersey into a modest Irish American Catholic family. On graduation from high school at the age of 17 he signed up to the US Air Force. He served in Japan for 4 years during the Korean War, after which he went in 1952, on a GI Scholarship, to the Hotel School at Cornell, which had a reputation for producing entrepreneurs. From the start Feeney demonstrated his entrepreneurial talents by setting up a sandwich enterprise selling to his fellow students, which helped provide him with extra income.

In 1956, after Cornell, he went to France and from there to Spain. Establishing a duty-free business with another graduate of Cornell (and later two others), they started first by selling alcohol to the US naval ships and moved into cars and perfume. With a constant eye to opportunities, the duty-free empire that Feeney established eventually operated across many countries ...