Sam Nazarian named to airport commission

Nightlife and hotel impresario Sam Nazarian is Mayor Villaraigosa's choice to fill the Chris Essel opening on the Board of Airport Commissioners. A release from Villaraigosa is going out this afternoon, but his name actually went over yesterday to the City Council's Trade, Commerce and Tourism committee, from a council file dated July 13. [The council file cover page misstates the date as June 13.] The mayor's release is after the jump.

LOS ANGELES - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today appointed Sam Nazarian to the Board of Airport Commissioners, where he joins a seven-member commission that governs Los Angeles World Airports.

“Sam’s record of entrepreneurship and management is exactly what LAWA needs to take Los Angeles air travel into the 21st century,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “His experience will add great value to our team at the airport as we continue to implement the LAX Master Plan, improving safety and convenience.”

“I am deeply honored to accept this appointment and would like to thank Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for this opportunity to work closely with him and the entire City Council of Los Angeles,” Nazarian said. “I share their same vision for LAWA in continuing progress to make it one of the greatest airports in the world. In a time where the challenges of global travel continue to rise, it is crucial to continually improve our vital gateway to the world.”

Nazarian currently serves as founder and Chief Executive Officer of SBE operating groups, which include hotel, restaurant, nightlife and real estate divisions. He is also Chief Executive Officer of Bolthouse.Vox and Element Films, where he directs acquisition and development of film production.

Raised in Los Angeles, Nazarian has an extensive record of entrepreneurial success in the region. In 1998, he founded Platinum Wireless, a telecommunications business specializing in Nextel software distribution. Within a year, Platinum Wireless became the number one Nextel distributor in Southern California.

In 2001, Nazarian established 3Wall Development and successfully distributed his family’s assets into real estate holdings across the market, securing partnerships with the country’s leading developers and investors. 3Wall soon became one of Southern California’s largest owners of multi-family housing.

Nazarian founded SBE only one year later. With a collection of over 10 hotels, restaurants and nightclubs, SBE quickly became one of the country’s most acclaimed corporations. Since its creation, SBE has also acquired properties in Santa Monica, Florida and Las Vegas, including the legendary Sahara Hotel & Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard. Now with thousands of employees, SBE has secured partnerships with other leading brands under the direction of Nazarian.

SBE’s Element Films has also enjoyed wide success with an ability to develop, produce and market own titles. Nazarian has been executive producer of several celebrated projects and has secured partnerships to create many more films in the future.

In 2006, Nazarian was named one of the “Top 100 Most Powerful People in Southern California” by the Los Angeles Times’ Magazine. He was the youngest executive named on the list. In addition, Nazarian also serves as a member of the Southern California Institute of Architecture’s Board of Directors.

Nazarian studied at New York University and the University of Southern California.

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