The S.C. Johnson family was estimated in 2020 to have a net worth of $37 billion, placing it among the wealthiest families in the United States. Samuel Curtis Johnson founded the company in 1886 after acquiring a parquet flooring company. This led to an expansion into floor wax and finishes. His son Herbert Fisk Johnson ran the company until 1928 and today the business is managed by the fifth generation of Johnson family members. Herbert Fisk Johnson III is chair and CEO.
Below are three companies owned by the S.C. Johnson family.
- The S.C. Johnson family is estimated to be worth $37 billion (as of 2020), making it one of the richest families in the United States.
- The vast majority of the family wealth is tied to S.C. Johnson, a household cleaning products company with an estimated $11 billion in sales in 2020.
- The family's other holdings include Johnson Financial Group and Johnson Outdoors.
S.C. Johnson & Son
S.C. Johnson & Son is the crown jewel of the Johnson family fortune. It employs 13,000 people and sales were estimated at $11 billion in 2020. The company's portfolio of household cleaning products include Pledge furniture polish, Windex window cleaner, Glade air freshener, Shout detergent, Saran plastic wrap, Ziploc bags and Kiwi shoe polish.
Samuel Curtis Johnson founded the company in 1886 in Racine, Wisconsin, where the company is still headquartered today. The company sold parquet flooring and earned a net profit of $268.27 in its first year. Business exploded after Johnson developed a floor wax paste to help his customers keep their floors shiny. By 1898, sales of floor wax, finishes and wood fillers outstripped the original parquet flooring business.
The company is in its fifth generation of family ownership. Herbert Fisk Johnson III, chair and CEO, was estimated to be worth $3.9 billion as of January 2022.
Johnson Financial Group
Johnson Financial Group runs wealth management, banking and insurance businesses. It employs more than 1,200 people and has $15 billion in assets under management, as of January 2022. Samuel C. Johnson, a fourth generation family member, founded the company in 1970. His daughter Helen Johnson-Leipold is chair.
Johnson Financial Group began as a regional bank operating from a trailer with eight staff. It acquired a Swiss bank and then expanded into mutual funds. Revenue is estimated at $305 million for 2020.
Johnson Outdoors (JOUT) is a maker of fishing gear, scuba diving equipment, camping supplies and watercraft. It employs 1,200 people and operates in 80 countries. The company is listed on the Nasdaq and is the only holding in Johnson family empire that is not a wholly-owned subsidiary. Samuel C. Johnson founded the company in 1970 and his daughter Helen Johnson-Leipold is chair and CEO.
In 2020, the company sold $594.2 million in gear, compared with $562.4 million the previous year. Earnings came in at $55.2 million, up from $51.4 million the year before. Fishing equipment was the largest sales contributor, providing $449.9 million in revenue. The company sells motors, shallow water anchors, fish finders and digital maps under the Minn Kota and Humminbird brands.
The Bottom Line
The S.C. Johnson family is among the wealthiest in America, with a fortune estimated at $37 billion. From modest beginnings as a flooring company, the family expanded and diversified into multiple household cleaning products, in addition to financial services and outdoor recreational gear.