Peggy Cherng

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Peggy Cherng
Peggy Cherng.jpg
Born1947/1948 (age 71–72)[1]
Alma materOregon State University (BS, Mathematics, 1970)
University of Missouri (MS, Computer Science, 1971)
University of Missouri (PhD, Electrical Engineering, 1974)
OccupationEntrepreneur, restaurateur, philanthropist
Known forCo-founder, Panda Express restaurant chain
Net worthUS$1.7 billion (June 2019)[1]
Andrew Cherng (m. 1975)
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
ThesisComputer analysis of chest radiographs using size and shape descriptors (1974)

Peggy Tsiang Cherng (pronounced Chur-ng, born 1947/1948) is an American billionaire businesswoman. Cherng co-founded Panda Express in 1983 and serves as the co-chief executive officer of Panda Restaurant Group. She was born in Burma (now Myanmar). With an estimated net worth of US$1.7 billion as of 2019, Forbes reported that she is America's richest self-made woman born outside the United States.[3] The Cherngs invest their wealth out of their family office, the Cherng Family Trust.

Early life and education[edit]

Peggy Tsiang was born in Burma (now Myanmar), and grew up in Hong Kong.[3] She attended Hong Kong's Clementi Secondary School, and graduated in 1966.[4] She went to the United States to attend Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, where as a freshman she met her husband to be, Andrew Cherng, then a sophomore.[5] She transferred a year later to Oregon State University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics in 1970.[4][6] She then attended the University of Missouri, earning a master's in computer science in 1971, and a PhD in electrical engineering[dubious ] in 1974.[4][7] She worked towards her PhD by developing a pattern-recognition program that digitized X-rays and applied algorithms to diagnose congenital heart disease. After earning her PhD, she and Andrew moved to Los Angeles where they married.[8]

Early career[edit]

From 1975-1977, Cherng was an engineering specialist at McDonnell Douglas, where she coded battlefield simulators for the US Air Force.[4] From 1977-1982, she was a technical engineer and software department manager at Comtal Corporation, a subsidiary of 3M.[4]

Panda Restaurant Group[edit]

In June 1973, Andrew Cherng along with his father Ming Tsai Cherng, took over a restaurant and started a new Chinese restaurant called Panda Inn in Pasadena, California, using funds from the family and a Small Business Administration loan.[9]

In 1982, Peggy Cherng left Comtal and became Operations Manager at the Panda Restaurant Group.[4]

In 1983, the Cherngs opened the first Panda Express, a fast food restaurant, at the newly opened Glendale Galleria II mall in Glendale, California.[10] The mall's developer had eaten at Panda Inn, and encouraged the Cherngs to take a place at the food court.[11]

Peggy Cherng took over as president in 1997.[10]


In February 2011, the Cherngs donated $2.5 million to support the Collins College of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.[12][13]

In March 2017, the California Institute of Technology announced that they were changing the name of its medical engineering department to the Andrew and Peggy Cherng Department of Medical Engineering after receiving a $30 million gift from Andrew and Peggy Cherng.[14] In the following month, the University of Missouri announced receiving a $1.5 million gift from the Cherngs which would benefit its Honors College.[15]

Personal life[edit]

The Cherng's have three daughters. The oldest is chief marketing officer at Panda Express, the second daughter manages investments for the Cherng Family Trust, and the youngest works with the Panda Charitable Foundation.[4]

In 2018, it was announced that the Cherng Family Trust purchased the former Mandarin Oriental hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and rebranded it as a Waldorf Astoria. The total acquisition price for the property was $214 million.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Forbes profile: Peggy Cherng". Forbes. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  2. ^ Hirsch, Jerry (2008-08-31), "Profile: Andrew Cherng, Panda Express founder", Seattle Times, retrieved 2018-04-30
  3. ^ a b "Forbes Profile". 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "How Did I Get Here? Peggy Cherng". Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  5. ^ "A Passion for Panda". 2011-07-01. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  6. ^ "Cherngs honored for contributions in L.A. area" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  7. ^ Tsiang, Peggy Pui-Kee (1974). Computer analysis of chest radiographs using size and shape descriptors (Ph.D.). University of Missouri. OCLC 12702017 – via ProQuest.
  8. ^ "The Tao of Panda Express". 2015-04-20. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  9. ^ "A Passion for Panda". 2011-07-01. Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  10. ^ a b Krantz, Matt (2006-09-13). "Panda Express spreads Chinese food across USA". USA Today. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  11. ^ Hirsch, Jerry (2009-08-31). "Profile | Andrew Cherng, Panda Express founder". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  12. ^ "Panda Express founders pledge $2.5 million". Fast Casual. February 28, 2011.
  13. ^ Galindo, Erick (March 4, 2011). "Panda's pledge: Founders donate $2.5M to Cal Poly Pomona". San Bernardino Sun. Archived from the original on 2017-04-05.
  14. ^ Henry, Jason (March 28, 2017). "Panda Express founders donate $30 million to Caltech in hopes of inspiring other immigrants". Pasadena Star-News.
  15. ^ Jost, Ashley (April 28, 2017). "Panda Express execs give $1.5 million to Mizzou". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  16. ^ "Hilton's Waldorf Astoria to debut in Las Vegas". Retrieved 24 September 2018.