December 6, 2016

McKenna Young
484-385-2913 (office)
[email protected]

Lenard B. Tessler, Vice Chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, to Receive 2017 Horatio Alger Award
Horatio Alger Association names 11 exceptional individuals, each of whom has overcome significant challenges to achieve professional and personal success, to its Member Class of 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 6, 2016) – Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that Lenard B. Tessler, vice chairman and senior managing director, Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. (“Cerberus”), has been selected for membership in the prestigious organization. Mr. Tessler joins 10 other esteemed business and civic leaders from across North America in receiving this honor in 2017. For the last 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon admirable leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversity, and who are committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their local communities.

Mr. Tessler was born in Far Rockaway, N.Y. to first-generation Americans. His father served in WWII as a pilot and was wounded in battle. Following his recovery, Mr. Tessler’s father opened a liquor store and raised his family in Rockaway and Cedarhurst, N.Y. Mr. Tessler attended and graduated from the University of Miami in Florida with a degree in accounting. After college, Mr. Tessler practiced accounting during the day, and at night, he attended Fairleigh Dickinson University to earn his MBA. Mr. Tessler worked as a tax accountant for several medium size and Big Eight accounting firms from 1973 until 1981 before turning his attention to new ventures, including co-founding Walker Energy Partners, co-founding leveraged buyout firm Levine, Tessler, Leichtman & Co.,  and founding TGV Partners, a private equity firm. In 1992, TGV acquired Empire Kosher Poultry, Inc., the world’s largest poultry processor, and Mr. Tessler served as Chairman and CEO.

In 2001, Mr. Tessler joined Cerberus to launch the firm’s private equity practice. Today, Mr. Tessler is Vice Chairman and a Senior Managing Director at Cerberus. He has spearheaded and managed many significant transactions during his tenure, including the acquisition of Albertsons Companies Inc., Alamo Rent a Car and National Car Rental, GMAC Inc., Chrysler and BAWAG P.S.K. Cerberus is one of the world’s leading private investment firms.

“The Horatio Alger Association stands for integrity, honesty and resilience in the face of adversity – qualities that Lenard learned from his upbringing with first-generation parents,” said Byron Trott, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2011 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “Lenard is an inspiring individual who chose a path of optimism and goodwill in trying times. His accomplishments provide our Scholars with an excellent example of turning struggles into triumphs and we are proud to recognize him as a new Member.”

Mr. Tessler married Fern Kaye in 1980, and the two have offered their support to many philanthropic organizations ever since. They are heavily involved in the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where Mr. Tessler is a trustee and a member of both the investment committee and finance committee, and The Whitney Museum of American Art, where Mrs. Tessler is a trustee and vice chairman and where the Tesslers have endowed The Whitney Biennial, which provides financial support for new and aspiring artists. They are also patrons of many charitable organizations whose missions they support, including the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation.

“I am honored to be inducted into the Horatio Alger Association, which offers critical educational assistance to students overcoming hardships and seeking to realize their potential,” said Mr. Tessler. “I am the product of enterprising relatives who were willing to take risks to come to this country and provide for a brighter future for me and my siblings, and believe strongly that opportunities are available for those who are determined and persistent. I am proud of this honor and look forward to providing the Association’s Scholars with the support they need to achieve their goals.”

Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this goal, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $125 million to students in need. Scholarships are funded solely through the generosity of Association Members, Life Partners and friends.

Mr. Tessler and the Member Class of 2017 will be formally inducted into the Association on March 30-April 1, 2017, during the Association’s 70th Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact, exchanging stories of hardships and triumphs.

For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2017, please visit and/or follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #HoratioAlgerAward.


About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:

Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, the Association awards more than $12 million annually in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada and provides college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $125 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit