A renowned business innovator, dedicated civic leader and actively-involved philanthropist, Rick J. Caruso is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Caruso®, one of the largest and most admired privately held real estate companies in the United States.
Under Caruso’s leadership, the company has achieved a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 20% since its inception. Its world-class portfolio of properties continues to expand and include more than a dozen internationally renowned and award-winning retail, residential, mixed-use and his newest addition, a resort hotel destination, Rosewood Miramar Beach. As cited by Green Street Advisors, Caruso properties consistently outperform traditional shopping destinations based on productivity and sales per square foot, with results three times higher than the industry average. Its flagship property, The Grove was ranked #2 on Fortune’s list of the 10 highest sales-generating shopping centers in the country.
At the heart of Caruso’s award-winning development approach is a deep respect and understanding of civic responsibility and a fierce loyalty to surrounding communities—the result of decades of hands-on experience in public service. Early in his career, he served as the youngest Commissioner in the city’s history when Mayor Tom Bradley appointed him Commissioner for the L.A. Department of Water and Power. Following this success, Caruso was selected as President of the L.A. Police Commission where he led the effort to overhaul the Los Angeles Police Department and recruited William Bratton as Chief of Police. Together, they reduced the city’s crime rate to the lowest levels in 50 years.
Caruso’s deeply held personal philosophy and commitment to giving back have further solidified his reputation as a compassionate member of the community. In 1991, he and his wife Tina, founded the Caruso Family Foundation, dedicated to supporting organizations that improve the lives of at-risk children in need of healthcare and education. Among the many nonprofit organizations that he supports, Caruso is actively involved with Operation Progress, Para Los Niños, St. Lawrence of Brindisi School and Verbum Dei High School, all focused on the historically underserved area of Watts, Los Angeles.
In 2019, Caruso announced a $50 million commitment to the Pepperdine School of Law, which will be renamed the Rick J. Caruso School of Law in recognition of the historic gift. The contribution, made through the Caruso Family Foundation, will expand educational access to exceptional, historically underserved student populations—a hallmark of the Caruso family’s philanthropic efforts in the Los Angeles area and beyond—as well as fuel several initiatives to strengthen the School of Law’s academic programming.
Caruso, a long-serving member of the USC community, also endowed the USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology at the Keck School of Medicine and the USC Catholic Center, which provides spiritual connection for faculty and students of all faiths. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and a Juris Doctorate as a Margaret Martin Block Scholar from Pepperdine School of Law.
In 2018, Caruso was elected as Chair of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the University of Southern California. He also serves as the Chair of the Board of Loyola High School, and is on the Board of Councilors of Pepperdine School of Law, and on the Boards for The Irvine Company, St. John’s Hospital, and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation.