He may be a knight of the realm now, but philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn has a fight on his hands.
As the NBR Rich List went to press, he was battling to save his $8 million inquiry into child abuse and domestic violence after it was revealed he’d been accused of physical abuse against a female former personal assistant in Hawaii in 2002.
Court documents show he entered a deferred acceptance of no contest plea to an assault charge in the on October 7, 2003.
Sir Owen responded to the revelations this month by appearing on Campbell Live denying any assault occurred and says the woman dropped her claims.
However, Sir Owen has been criticised for not disclosing the incident to inquiry members, many of whom have now quit.
He has vowed to continue the inquiry and says the $2 million in funding he provided remains and he is considering a greater contribution.
Sir Owen founded US-based container shipping giant, OTS Logistics Group – formerly NACA Logistics – which has operations in more than 100 countries through various brands.
Last year he sold the business to Man Capital, part of the family-owned Egyptian conglomerate Mansour Group, for a reported $US360 million.
Sir Owen arrived in New Zealand with his English parents at age six and lived in Auckland, where he attended Mt Roskill Grammar School.
His career began at age 16 in the Teal cargo bay – now Air New Zealand – and after leaving New Zealand in the sixties he worked in Sydney and London, before moving to the US to found the logistics business in 1976.
His knighthood was bestowed upon him at the beginning of the year for services to business and the community.
Sir Owen described the knighthood as a “great, great honour” and jokingly said his mates would now have to treat him with respect.
Sir Owen’s actions have always spoken louder than his words, with major donations through the Glenn Family Foundation to various causes and charities.
The Auckland Business School, the Aotearoa New Zealand Maori Business Leader of the Year awards and the Sir Howard Morrison Vocal Scholarship have all been recipients of his largesse, not to mention hockey, rugby league and water sports.
He still retains a keen interest in business and politics and in a speech at the BNZ business conference late last year he let slip that his political aspirations were still very much alive.
And earlier this year he revealed that he was given the opportunity to bid for the New Zealand Herald last year but turned it down because “the numbers didn’t stack up.”
When he’s got a spare moment Sir Owen relaxes on his 34m superyacht, Ubiquitous, which has taken up residence at Auckland’s Viaduct Basin.
He brought it from Florida to play a role in his charity fundraising projects.