An owner of thoroughbred racehorses since 1972, his colt Action This Day won the 2003 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding 2-Year-Old Male Horse. In June 2004 he acquired the historic 700-acre (2.8 km) Spendthrift Farm near Lexington, Kentucky. In 2013, his filly Beholder won the Breeders' Cup Distaff and was voted the Eclipse Award for American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly.
Known all his life by his middle name, B. Wayne Hughes was the company's President and Co-Chief Executive Officer from 1980 until November 1991 when he became Chairman of the Board and sole Chief Executive Officer. He retired as Chief Executive Officer in November 2002 and remains Chairman of the Board. He was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer from 1990 until March 1998 of Public Storage Properties XI, Inc., which was renamed PS Business Parks, Inc. ("PSB"), an affiliated REIT. From 1989-90 until the respective dates of merger, he was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of 18 affiliated REITs that were merged into the Company between September 1994 and May 1998 (collectively, the "Merged Public Storage REITs"). has been active in the real estate investment field for over 30 years.
Hughes is the largest donor to American Crossroads, a conservative political organization started by Karl Rove. As of 2010, Hughes has contributed $1.55 million to the organization.