After attending Yale, the Sorbonne and Harvard Business School, Kiam became part of the Lever Brothers and Playtex company as a salesperson. He first made his fortune as the President and CEO of Remington Products, which he famously purchased after his wife bought him his first electric shaver. In 1994, Victor Kiam sold a controlling interest in Remington Products to Isaac Perlmutter. Kiam also operated two other companies: Ronson and TravelSmart. Kiam also bought the Benrus Watch Company in 1967, which filed bankruptcy in 1977.
He became famous as the spokesperson for the Remington shaver. Kiam's famous catch-phrase, "I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company." made him a household name; the phrase "Doing a Victor Kiam" has now become a term for a customer who becomes the owner of a company. He recorded each advert in the native language for the country in which it was broadcast.
In 1988, Kiam bought the NFL's New England Patriots for $84 million from founder Billy Sullivan. Unfortunately, the sale did not include Foxboro Stadium, which Sullivan lost in a bankruptcy sale to Robert Kraft, and Kiam lost money on the deal. In In 1990, a female reporter sued Kiam and the Patriots when Zeke Mowatt allegedly exposed himself and made lewd comments to her in the team change room. The case was reportedly settled for approximately $250,000 and three players were fined. The incident stirred debate over female reporters in the locker room. In 1992 Kiam sold his 51% interest in the Patriots to St. Louis, Missouri-based businessman James Orthwein, to whom Kiam was in considerable debt. (Orthwein would eventually sell his controlling stake in the Patriots to Kraft after an aborted attempt to move the Patriots to St. Louis.)
Kiam resided in West Palm Beach, Florida at the time of his death.
Upon Kiam's death The Times quoted one of his closest business associates in later years, Jonathon Lyons, as saying that he was "a truly remarkable entrepreneur of the old kind - the kind they simply don't make any more."
Kiam wrote the following books about business and entrepreneurship:
- Going for It!: How to Succeed As an Entrepreneur
- Keep going for it!: living the life of an entrepreneur
- Live to Win: Achieving Success in Life and Business
Kiam was survived by his wife, Ellen, and three children, Lisa Durkin, Victor "Tory" Kiam III, and Robin Kiam Aviv, and seven grandchildren, Jenny, Alexander, Sophia, Lia, Caleigh, Nikki, and Blake. His son has taken over Lady Remington and has changed the name and expanded it by huge percentages. It is now called Lia Sophia, named after his two daughters to reflect the importance of family in the company.
- Billy Sullivan, 86 [sic], Founder Of Football Patriots, Dies New York Times. Accessed 20 October 2007.
- Going for it!: how to succeed as an entrepreneur, ISBN 0688060609
- Keep going for it!: living the life of an entrepreneur, ISBN 9780002154031
- Live to Win: Achieving Success in Life and Business, ISBN 9780061099076
- Ad Age Global pp. 5 (June 2001). Retrieved on 2006-10-26.
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