Executives‎ > ‎

David Merage, Chairman and CEO, Consolidated Investment Group (EPIC Founding Member)

Until its sale to Nestle in September 2002, David Merage was co-owner and co-founder of Chef America, Inc., a national frozen food manufacturer. Chef America, Inc. products are sold in supermarkets, club stores, and other institutional operations throughout the United States under brand names such as Hot Pockets, Lean Pockets, Croissant Pockets, etc. In 2002, Chef America, Inc. sales were approximately $750 million and had 1,800 employees.

Prior to founding Chef America, Inc., David was involved in real estate investments and continues to be active in this area. David is currently Principal of Consolidated Investment Group (CIG), an investment management company specializing in Wall Street and real estate investments for a select group of private clients. The company’s Wall Street investment group allocates capital through opportunistic and value-oriented strategies to preserve capital while maximizing returns. CIG’s Real Estate Division seeks optimal returns through creative partnership structures, asset repositioning, and other innovative techniques. CIG has been actively investing in value added real estate since 2003 and is building a diverse portfolio. Real estate is acquired in multiple US and International markets through operating partners, direct investment, and opportunistic funds. Target asset types include residential, multifamily, office, industrial, retail, mixed use and land.

In addition to the CIG operations, Mr. Merage also provides leadership to three philanthropic foundations: David and Laura Merage Foundation, Andre and Katherine Merage Foundation, and Merage Foundations - Israel. The operational platform of the foundations was modeled on Mr. Merage’s successful business ventures, and his entrepreneurial spirit and management expertise provide a clear road-map for the social investment strategy. The foundations have a focus on venture philanthropy, and the investment process is highly interactive to ensure grantee partners have programs with measurable outcomes and significant community impact.  One of these projects, Early Learning Ventures, was founded by the David and Laura Merage Foundation in 2009.   

David was born in Tehran, Iran. At the age of fifteen he traveled to England to pursue his studies. Later, he moved to the United States where he continued his education. David received his Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from California State University. David is married to Laura Merage. Laura was born in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to Los Angeles at the age of fifteen. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Southern California and her Masters Degree in Art from New York University. Laura is an artist/photographer with works in public and private collections nationally and internationally.