Henry Nicholas

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Henry Nicholas
Henry Nicholas NAC.jpeg
Nicholas at the Nicholas Academic Center Graduation on June 11, 2009
Born1959 (age 61–62)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of California Los Angeles (B.S, 1982; M.S., 1985; Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, 1998)[1]
  • Former co-chairman, president and CEO of Broadcom Corporation
  • Chairman of the Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation
  • Chairman of Marsy's Law for All
Stacey Nicholas
(m. 1987; div. 2008)
Parent(s)Henry T. Nicholas Jr.,
Marcella Nicholas Leach

Henry Thompson "Nick" Nicholas III (born 1959) is a co-founder of Broadcom Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, and a former co-chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer of the company. He is also a philanthropist and victims' rights advocate.

As of June 2021, Nicholas was ranked number 520 on Forbes Billionaire's List, with a net worth of $5.7 billion.[2]

Early life and education[]

Henry Nicholas at graduation with his sister Marsy

Nicholas was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to Marcella and Henry T. Nicholas Jr., and lived in Glendale, Ohio until he was 4 years old. His father was an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service and his mother was a teacher and later an administrator and theater instructor in the area's Princeton City School District. When his parents divorced, he moved with his mother and sister to Los Angeles, California.

His mother remarried, to Robert Leach, a journalist and Hollywood screenwriter, who authored feature film scripts and episodes of such classic television shows as Perry Mason and Sea Hunt. Nicholas attended elementary schools in Malibu and Santa Monica High School.[3] Throughout his schooling, Nicholas suffered from dyslexia.[4]

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the UCLA School of Engineering in 1982, after attending the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Nicholas earned a master's degree in 1985 and PhD. in electrical engineering from UCLA in 1998.[1] His doctoral advisor was Henry Samueli. His doctoral dissertation on "Architectures, Optimization Techniques, and VLSI Implementations for Direct Digital Frequency Synthesizers" became the basis for the development of the chip that launched Broadcom.[3]

Early career[]

After graduating from UCLA in the 1980s, Nicholas worked at TRW in Redondo Beach, where he met Dr. Henry Samueli, his future business partner who also was a professor of engineering at UCLA. Nicholas later moved to PairGain Technologies in Cerritos, California, where he was director of Microelectronics. He left PairGain in 1991 to start Broadcom Corporation with Samueli.


Nicholas founded Broadcom with Henry Samueli in the spare bedroom of Nicholas' Redondo Beach condominium in 1991.[5] Each invested $5,000 of his own money to get the business off the ground. They took the company public in 1998.[6]

Nicholas retired from Broadcom in 2003, ostensibly to work on his marriage.[7]


The Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation focuses on improving quality of life through investments in education, youth sports, medicine, technology, law enforcement and national defense.[8]

Criminal justice and victims' rights[]

Henry Nicholas with Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Sheriff Lee Baca, and Governor Jerry Brown at the National Day of Remembrance

Nicholas' sister Marsalee (born 1962) was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend in 1983, while Nicholas was in graduate school.[9] Nicholas helped his mother and stepfather—Marcella and Robert Leach—found Justice for Homicide Victims, Inc., a non-profit organization that supports the families of murder victims.[10]


Henry Nicholas addressing Nicholas Academic Center graduates

Partnering with retired Orange County Superior Court Judge Jack Mandel, Nicholas in 2008 opened his first Nicholas Academic Center in downtown Santa Ana, California. Nicholas pledged $10 million over 20 years to the project. The centers provide a safe and nurturing school environment to help underprivileged students realize their educational goals. The second center opened in 2009 on the campus of Valley High School in Santa Ana. The first graduating class consisted of 24 high school seniors who received scholarships to leading four-year colleges and universities, including UCLA, Allegheny College, Denison University, UC San Diego, UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton.[11]

In 2004, Nicholas announced a $10-million gift to St. Margaret's Episcopal School in Orange County and the formation of a partnership with the University of California, Irvine Henry Samueli School of Engineering to explore the application of technology to enhance learning. In addition, Nicholas provides St. Margaret scholarships to students from Santa Ana.[12]

Nicholas also supports the Oakland Military Institute, founded by Gov. Jerry Brown,[13] donated a new wing to the Mt. Olive School for middle-school aged girls in Kenya and is a donor to the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, California.[14]


Nicholas has made major contributions to the engineering and computer science programs at UC Irvine. He established The Nicholas Prize, administered by CalIT2 at UC Irvine, which recognizes innovative collaborative research.[15]

He continues to support the UCI Center for Pervasive Communications and Computing and the Center for Embedded Computing Systems.[16]

He has supported UCLA's School of Engineering through Nicholas Endowment grants to its summer research program, as well as supporting the UCLA Astronomy Department's Planetarium.[17]

Episcopal Church[]

Henry Nicholas with Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

Nicholas has a close relationship with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and its Bishop, J. Jon Bruno. The Nicholas Foundation partnered with the Diocese to establish Chefs Center of California, a small-business incubator in Pasadena, California, that enables culinary entrepreneurs to start and accelerate the successful growth of their enterprises.[18] The Foundation has provided primary financial support for the Chefs Center in the form of a $1,350,000 contribution.[19]

The Center, which opened in May 2009, provides professional commercial kitchen space at an average rate of $20/hour and based on a sliding scale according to financial need.[20] The incubator is home to more than 30 entrepreneurs and has launched numerous successful restaurants, catering operations and specialty food companies.[21]

The Nicholas Foundation also supports Mama's Hot Tamales Café, another partnership with the Episcopal Diocese affiliated with Chefs Center and located in the MacArthur Park neighborhood of Central Los Angeles.[22]

Habitat for Humanity[]

Nicholas and his Foundation have been a strong supporter of Habitat for Humanity, helping to build Gordon's House in honor of Rev. Gordon Yeaton, an Episcopal priest and Habitat for Humanity board member who died in 2007.[23] The Foundation has also supported Habitat's Homes for Heroes, a neighborhood in San Juan Capistrano for disabled veterans and surviving families of veterans who gave their lives in service.[24]

National defense[]

Nicholas established the first-ever American Heritage Bowl Game for Historically Black Colleges, co-sponsored by the Navy and Marine Corps.[25] It was held in August 2007 at the stadium at Cal State Fullerton and broadcast worldwide on ESPN and armed forces networks.

Nicholas served as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Commission in Southern California.[26]

And as noted above, he also has supported "Habitat for Heroes" program.[27]

The arts[]

The Nicholas Endowment, Dr. Nicholas supports Opera Pacific and the Pacific Symphony,[28] South Coast Repertory, the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana and Orange County Performing Arts Center.[29]

Music and media[]

Nicholas has been instrumental in the success of a number of high-profile groups and artists, including Sublime, the Dirty Heads, Orgy/Julien-K, and Dead By Sunrise, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington's solo act.[30]


During his tenure as Broadcom CEO Nicholas was the recipient of an Orange County Titan Award, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for Electronics, was named as one of the Top 20 Entrepreneurs by Red Herring magazine and one of the World's Top 50 Cyber Elite by Time Digital Magazine.[31]

Since leaving Broadcom, Nicholas has received the following awards:

  • Ronald Reagan Award for Pioneering Achievement in Victims' Rights[31]
  • UCI 1st recipient of UCI School of Engineering "Engineering The Future" award to recognize outstanding achievements in engineering, leadership and industry[32]
  • UCLA School of Engineering Alumni of the Year Award[33]
  • Crime Victims United Award for work on Proposition 66[31]
  • Orange County District Attorney Office 2005 Public Safety Award for Prop 66[31]
  • Lifetime Achievement Award by The Joyful Child Foundation[34]
  • Parents of Murdered Children, Inc (POMC) Empty Shoe Award (2008)[33][35]
  • Crime Survivors Star Light, Star Bright award for contribution to crime victims' rights.[36]
  • Assemblyman Todd Spitzer's Yes on Prop 9: Marsy's Law Committee In Pursuit of Justice Award for 2008[33]
  • IEEE Frederik Philips Award 2014 (http://www.ieee.org/about/awards/bios/philips_recipients.html)


Nicholas married in 1987; he and his former wife Stacey, a former electrical engineer, have three children, Brett, Matthew, and Shelby.[37] Nicholas is now divorced and lives in Newport Coast, California.

In April 2008, he voluntarily checked himself into a Betty Ford alcohol-rehabilitation program and completed treatment at Cliffside Malibu.[38]

After leaving Broadcom, Nicholas served as a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine. He is currently retired.

Criminal charges[]

Nicholas and other Broadcom executives were indicted in June 2008 for stock fraud and options backdating.[39][40] At the same time, Nicholas was also indicted on drug charges.[39][40] The charges caused considerable scandal, and were the subject of much speculation in the press.[41][42]

Judge Cormac J. Carney threw out the stock fraud and options backdating charges in December 2009.[43] The drug charges were also dropped in January 2010.[44] The Judge, in dismissing the charges, accused the prosecution of a "shameful" campaign of witness intimidation aimed at securing unjustified convictions.[43]

In August 2018, Nicholas was arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of drug trafficking after a variety of drugs, including marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy, were found in his hotel suite.[45] In August 2019, he entered an Alford plea to two felony drug possession charges; he agreed to donate $1 million to a drug treatment and rehabilitation program, to perform 250 hours of community service, and to go to drug counseling. In exchange, the prosecution dismissed five more serious drug trafficking charges and did not seek a prison sentence. The case will be dismissed one year later if he completes his community service and counseling.[46]


  1. ^ a b "Alumnus Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, III was Named for the IEEE Frederik Philips Award for 2014" Archived 2015-04-21 at archive.today, UCLA Engineering News, 2014.
  2. ^ "Henry Nicholas, III". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-06-15.
  3. ^ a b "Henry T. Nicholas III - OC Register Wiki". Archived from the original on 2010-01-24. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
  4. ^ "Henry Nicholas, Superhero - Orange County Weekly, July 1, 2004". Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  5. ^ Naughton, Philippe (June 6, 2008). "Californian billionaire Henry T Nicholas III faces drugs sex and fraud charges". The Times. London.
  6. ^ "28 years of Nicholas and Samueli". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
  7. ^ Tobak, Steve. "Henry T. Nicholas III: A human tragedy". CNET. Retrieved 2021-06-15.
  8. ^ "Billionaire plans to give away $100 million". Orange County Register. 2007-10-24. Retrieved 2021-06-15.
  9. ^ Rothfeld, Michael (October 23, 2008). "Prop. 9 would give crime victims a stronger voice". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  10. ^ "Remembering Our Beloved Bob Leach, 1914-2008". Justice For Homicide Victims. Archived from the original on June 11, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  11. ^ Nicholas scholars receive $500,000 in college aid
  12. ^ St. Margaret's backer pledges $750,000
  13. ^ Reckard, E. Scott; Christensen, Kim (August 2, 2007). "Beleaguered billionaire Henry Nicholas speaks - Page 5 - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012.
  14. ^ Past Grant Recipients - The Henry T. Nicholas III Foundation
  15. ^ Calit2 : UCI Division to Administer Nicholas Foundation Prize; Call for Proposals Issued
  16. ^ "Graduate Financial Support | The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine". Archived from the original on 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
  17. ^ Dept of Physics & Astronomy annual Report 2003-04
  18. ^ "Episcopal Housing Alliance and Economic Development - Low Housing Programs, Economic Development - Chefs Center of California". Archived from the original on 2011-07-02. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
  19. ^ The Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation
  20. ^ "Chefs Center of California - Our Facility". Archived from the original on 2010-10-03. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
  21. ^ Chefs Center of California
  22. ^ Using a Kitchen Incubator to Get Started - BusinessWeek
  23. ^ "Episcopal News Service - DIOCESAN DIGEST". Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
  24. ^ "Habitat for Humanity of Orange County - Where We Build - On the Drawing Board". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
  26. ^ DHS | Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC)
  27. ^ "Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, III Joins Dedication of "Gordon's House" at Habitat for Humanity Ceremony | EON: Enhanced Online News". Archived from the original on 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
  28. ^ "The lighter side of billionaire lost boy Henry T. Nicholas III". Archived from the original on 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
  29. ^ "Culture Monster". Los Angeles Times.
  30. ^ WMG Names Rob Cavallo Chief Creative Officer - hypebot
  31. ^ a b c d "About Henry Nicholas - The Henry T. Nicholas III Foundation". Archived from the original on 2010-07-22. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
  32. ^ "Broadcom.com - University of California Irvine". Archived from the original on 2010-07-18. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  33. ^ a b c Bio: Henry Nicholas
  34. ^ The Joyful Child Foundation Honors Henry Nicholas with Lifetime Achievement Award
  35. ^ "POMC History", pomc.org.
  36. ^ http://www.crimesurvivors.org/relations/2008AwardsPSA2008.pdf[dead link] crimesurvivors.org
  37. ^ Holson, Laura M. (2000-06-26). "TECHNOLOGY: Networking in Southern California; 'Anti-Silicon Valley' Broadcom Chief Rules in the Wired World". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-06-15.
  38. ^ Christensen, Kim (April 19, 2008). "Nicholas enters rehab for alcohol - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  39. ^ a b Holson, Laura M. (June 6, 2008). "Former Chief of Broadcom is Indicted". New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  40. ^ a b Reckard, E. Scott (June 6, 2008). "O. C. tech billionaire indicted". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  41. ^ Tobak, Steve. "Henry T. Nicholas III: A human tragedy". CNET. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  42. ^ Greene, Robert (June 11, 2008). "The two Henry T. Nicholases". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  43. ^ a b Pfeifer, Stuart (December 16, 2009). "Judge throws out stock fraud charges against Broadcom co-founder, ex-CFO". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  44. ^ Pfeifer, Stuart (January 29, 2010). "New court victory for Broadcom co-founder Henry Nicholas as drug charges are dropped". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  45. ^ Winton, Richard. "Broadcom co-founder Henry Nicholas arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of drug trafficking". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  46. ^ "Broadcom founder Henry Nicholas, friend accept plea deal in Las Vegas drug case". The Orange County Register. 31 July 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2020.

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