Billionaire family entrepreneur Randall Rollins, who got his start in Delaware, dead at 88

Randall Rollins

A member of the colorful Rollins family of entrepreneurs has died.

Rollins, Inc., a pest services company with brands that include Orkin and Western, announced the passing of R. Randall Rollins, the company’s chairman of the board. He was 88.

Publicly traded Rollins Inc. is believed to be the nation’s largest pest control company, with Randall having an estimated net worth of $5 billion.

Long-standing Board Members Gary W. Rollins, vice chairman and Henry B. Tippie, lead director, will continue in their respective leadership roles until succession plans are announced.

“The loss of Randall is felt profoundly, not only by our family, his friends and me, but also by generations of Rollins’ employees and colleagues who had the privilege of knowing him during his over 70 years of devotion to the Rollins companies,” said Gary W. Rollins. He exemplified the principles of integrity, innovation and dedication instilled by our father O. Wayne Rollins, who co-founded the company with his brother, John.”

From his home base in Delaware, the late John Rollins founded a number of companies in the trucking, truck rental, gaming, NASCAR race circuit, commercial real estate and other areas.

Like John, Randall loved to launch and buy companies in a variety of industries and piled up a lot of wealth along the way.

“Randall’s deep sense of loyalty and appreciation of our valued employees and our businesses will be missed,” said Gary W. Rollins. “His strong moral compass and expansive business knowledge allowed him to steer many successful public and private companies in a variety of industries. He was always willing to consider something new, and if he became involved, he was determined to leave it better than he found it.”

Following high school, Rollins received an early business education while working for his uncle, John W. Rollins and his father, O. Wayne Rollins in their various start-up businesses in Delaware. John Rollins came to Delaware from Georgia and got his start when acquiring a car dealership in Sussex County.

Rollins later enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. Immediately following his military service, he married the former Peggy Hastings and resumed his business career working for his uncle at Rollins Leasing and his father at Rollins Broadcasting both located in Wilmington.

As Rollins Broadcasting expanded, Rollins grew expanded the family’s radio and television business.

In what some described as described as the first leveraged buyout in American business history, Rollins Broadcasting purchased Orkin Pest Control in 1964 and soon diversified into other service industries.

Following a corporate move from Wilmington to Atlanta, Rollins ultimately headed this new business and for many years juggled his Orkin responsibilities with his brother Gary, while at the same time growing the media business, successfully expanding into outdoor advertising and cable television.

Working alongside his father, Randall was instrumental in converting the original broadcasting company into a more diversified service and media business which earned him a position on Rollins’ Board of Directors. Later as Rollins, Inc. entered the oil field service business, Rollins also assumed responsibility for this new venture.

In 1984, Rollins, Inc. split into three separate public companies: Rollins, Inc. (pest control), Rollins Communications, Inc. (Broadcasting and Outdoor Advertising), and RPC Energy Services, Inc. (oil and gas services).

Rollins became the President and Chief Operating Officer of Rollins Communications as well as the Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, andPresidentof RPC Energy Services, Inc.

Following the death of his father in 1991, Rollins became the Chairman of the Board of Rollins, Inc. In 2001, Rollins became the Chairman of Marine Products Corporation following its formation as a spinoff from RPC, Inc. Mr. Rollins also oversaw the operations of the family’s numerous private companies and investments.

Rollins’ business insights and vast experience also made him a valued member of a number of public company Boards of Directors, including SunTrust Banks, Gold Kist, Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment, and Dover Motorsports.

Dover Motorsports remains an independent publicly traded company. Dover Downs and its casino-race track was acquired in 2019 by a Rhode Island company.

Randall Rollins participated in a number of philanthropic endeavors that included Beebe Healthcare in Lewes.

The Atlanta-area Rollins family had been involved in a lengthy dispute over a vast fortune and trust to family members. The battle continued for years until a settlement came in 2018.

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