Chairman, Founder and COO
A visionary, a leader and a gentleman. Howard Ruby, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Oakwood Worldwide, has embodied all three roles while guiding the firm through its 52-year evolution into a multi-billion-dollar real estate company, and the global leader in the hospitality niche of serviced apartments.
Today, Oakwood Worldwide operates throughout North America, Asia and Europe. Oakwood's annual gross earnings exceed $600 million. The firm has 3,000 employees, and manages 20,000 serviced apartments.
Ruby's biography parallels that of Oakwood. In 1960, Ruby and business partner Bob Franks began managing small apartment buildings in California, quickly establishing techniques to improve a building's customer service and return-on-investment. Later, with a third partner, Ed Broida, they developed several niche real estate concepts, including Bay Village Apartments (for families), and the lucrative South Bay Clubs (for singles).
In 1969, Ruby created the Oakwood Apartments brand, featuring furnished apartment complexes that catered to a broader audience including business travelers, families, seniors and more. The concept of "serviced apartments" was born and for the first time, extended stay travelers had a spacious alternative to staying in a hotel room.
The 1970s and 1980s brought further growth as the Oakwood brand continued to gain footing across the United States. Ruby led the company into commercial real estate, real estate fee management, telecommunications, and "home services," the housewares division that supplies linens, dishes, and other such items that make a furnished apartment a home.
Ruby was founding member of the National Multi-Housing Council (NMHC), today one of the most established trade groups in the U.S. apartment industry.
The 1990s brought the largest growth surge ever to Oakwood, as the Oakwood Corporate Housing service expanded throughout the United States, serving virtually every city nationwide.
In 1995, Ruby made the decision to expand Oakwood globally, and made frequent visits to Asia and Europe to introduce the Oakwood concept. In 1997, he was the keynote speaker for the Horwath Serviced Apartment Conference in Hong Kong.
Soon after, the Oakwood concept spread its wings with expansion into Singapore, Thailand, China, Korea, Philippines, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The company created two new brands, Oakwood Premier (five-star) and Oakwood Residence (four-star), and opened spectacular new buildings in Asia. Further expansion is foreseen in Asia and Europe.
Howard Ruby remains the firm's beloved guiding visionary, leading Oakwood's global growth, technology innovation, and focus on customer service. Every year he travels the world, visiting Oakwood offices to motivate his employees and meet with partners.
Ruby has also traveled the world many times to expand his already impressive photography portfolio. After numerous trips to the Arctic to photograph polar bears, he witnessed the effects of climate change firsthand and was moved to partner with National Wildlife Federation to develop an educational outreach program. This program uses his emotional and dramatic photographs of melting ice and threatened polar bears to educate children as well as adults. Many Oakwood employees volunteered in classrooms as part of this program. Visit www.climateclassroomkids.org for more information.
In addition to a special exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History where he was named "International Conservation Photographer of the Year" by National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Howard has donated major bodies of his work to the UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital and the UC Santa Barbara Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.
Ruby is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's prestigious Wharton School of Business. He is married to actress Yvette Mimieux, and is a father of four and grandfather of six.