Wilbur Ross, Jr.’s profile picture

Wilbur Ross, Jr.

Wilbur Ross, Jr.’s profile picture
Net worth 2018: $700 Million
Industry: Investments
Residence: Palm Beach, Florida
Country: United States
BirthDay: 28 November 1937
Children: 2
Education: Bachelor of Arts / Science, Yale University; Master of Business Administration, Harvard University

Wilbur Ross, Jr. was bornon 28 November 1937 in Palm Beach, Florida, United States. Former member of the Forbes 400, Wilbur Ross apparently lied about his net worth for years before he was removed from the list in 2017. New information on his fortune was revealed when Ross became Secretary of Commerce and had to file a financial disclosure report. Ross worked with Donald Trump on a casino recapitalization in 1990. A former bankruptcy specialist at Rothschild & Co., he left to form his own private equity shop WL Ross & Co. in 2000. He sold WL Ross & Co. to publicly traded Invesco for $100 million up front and the ability to earn another $275 million in 2006.


$1.8 Billion


$1.9 Billion


$2.1 Billion


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$2.6 Billion


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$2.9 Billion


$2.9 Billion


$700 Million


$700 Million

Wilbur Louis Ross Jr. (born November 28, 1937) is an American investor and the current United States Secretary of Commerce. On November 30, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Ross to be United States Secretary of Commerce. On February 27, 2017, the Senate confirmed Ross in a 72–27 vote. He was sworn into office on February 28, 2017.Before he was appointed, Ross was a banker known for restructuring failed companies in industries such as steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investment and textiles who specialized in leveraged buyouts and distressed businesses. In February 2017, Forbes magazine reported that Ross has a net worth of $2.5 billion. However, financial disclosure forms Ross filed after his nomination for Secretary of Commerce showed less than $700 million in assets, and Forbes removed him from their billionaires list in November 2017. He is often called the "King of Bankruptcy" because of his record of buying bankrupt companies, primarily in the manufacturing and steel industries, and later selling them for a large profit after operations improve.In November 2017, leaked documents known as the Paradise Papers showed that Ross had failed to clearly disclose financial ties to Russian interests in his confirmation hearings.Ross was born on November 28, 1937, in Weehawken, New Jersey, and grew up in suburban New Jersey. His father, Wilbur Louis Ross Sr., was a lawyer who later became a judge, and his mother, Agnes (née O'Neill), was a school teacher.Ross drove two hours a day from New Jersey to attend the Catholic college preparatory Xavier High School in Manhattan. He ran track and was captain of the rifle team. He received his bachelor's degree from Yale College, his father's alma mater. At Yale, Ross edited one of the literary magazines and worked at the radio station. Initially, he wanted to be a writer, but after his experience in a fiction class requiring 500 words daily, he concluded that he had "run out of material." His faculty adviser at Yale helped him get his first summer job on Wall Street. He earned his MBA degree at Harvard Business School.In the late 1970s, Ross began his 24-year career at the New York City office of N M Rothschild & Sons, where he ran the bankruptcy-restructuring advisory practice.In the 1980s, Donald Trump was in financial trouble. His three casinos in Atlantic City were under foreclosure threat from lenders. Ross, who was then the senior managing director of Rothschild Inc., represented investors in the casino. Along with Carl Icahn, Ross convinced bondholders to strike a deal with Trump that allowed Trump to keep control of the casinos.Ross' private equity fund, W.L.Ross & Company, was created in April 2000. He had started a $200 million fund at Rothschild to invest in distressed assets. As the U.S. bubble began to burst, he decided he wanted to invest more and advise less. In 2000, the 62-year-old banker raised $450 million to buy out the fund from Rothschild and make further investments in distressed assets. The new firm was named WL Ross & Co. In 2003 investment committee was composed of David H. Storper, David L. Wax, Stephen J. Toy, and Pamela K. Wilson, a J.P. Morgan & Co. veteran. In 2006 Ross sold WL Ross & Co. to Invesco, then Amvescap. WL Ross operates as a subsidiary of Invesco.In August 2016, Ross agreed to reimburse investors $11.8 million and pay a fine of $2.3 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission probe into the overcharging of fees by WL Ross & Co. The company had self-reported the issue to the SEC and did not admit any liability.According to Bloomberg Businessweek, by January 2016, WL Ross & Co. was the "biggest investor" in "Navigator Holdings, a liquefied gas shipping company."In December 2017, Irish politician and Member of the European Parliament Luke Ming Flanagan accused Ross of insider trading from WL Ross, as part of a 2014 sale of shares in the Bank of Ireland.In 2002, Ross founded International Steel Group after purchasing the assets of several bankrupt steel companies. Ross had support from the local steelworkers union, negotiating a deal with them to "save" Pennsylvania's steel industry. Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers union stated about Ross that "he was open and accessible and candid and honest and he put a lot of money back into the mills, so literally tens of thousands of jobs were saved." Ross sold International Steel Group to Mittal Steel Company for $4.5 billion, half in cash and half in stock, in April 2005.Ross combined Burlington Industries and Cone Mills in 2004 to form International Textile Group. ITG operates five businesses, all of which operate under separate brand names: Cone Denim, Burlington Apparel Fabrics, Home Furnishings, Carlisle Finishing and Nano-Tex. In 2005, Ross purchased 77.3% of Safety Components International for $51.2 million. In 2006, Ross merged the firm into his International Textile Group. In February 2014, Ross paid $81 million to settle a lawsuit brought by shareholders that Ross breached his fiduciary duty when structuring the merger of two companies that he majority-owned: Safety Components International Inc. and International Textile Group Inc. International Textile Group was sold to private equity firm Platinum Equity in 2016.International Automotive Components Group was formed in 2006 by Ross and investment funds managed by Franklin Mutual Advisers. In 2006, International Automotive Components Group purchased the European operations of Lear Corporation. In 2005-2007, IAC purchased several divisions of Collins & Aikman. In September 2005, investors led by Ross made a $100 million investment in Oxford Automotive in exchange for approximately 25% of the company. In 2006, Oxford merged with Wagon Automotive.Ross founded the International Coal Group in 2004, which was formed after several coal companies went bankrupt. The United Mine Workers of America protested the bankruptcy reorganization as it led to changes in health care and pensions for the existing employees.The Sago Mine disaster was a 2006 explosion in a coal mine indirectly owned by International Coal Group that led to the deaths of 12 miners. Federal investigators said a lightning strike was the most likely ignition source for the blast. Following the disaster, the New York Post's Roddy Boyd reported that the mine had 12 roof collapses in 2005, and that the U.S. Department of Labor data showed 208 citations for safety violations in that same period, including 21 times for build-up of toxic gasses. Miners and their families accused Ross of ignoring safety violations. Ross defended his company's management of the mine. Arch Coal purchased International Coal Group for $3.4 billion in 2011.Ross was raised as a Democrat. He served under U.S. President Bill Clinton on the board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund. Later, under New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Ross served as the Mayor's privatization advisor. In January 1998 he put $2.25 million in seed money into the campaign of his then-wife, Betsy McCaughey Ross, who was seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor of New York. Although he was an early supporter of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, Ross was previously a registered Democrat, served as an officer of the New York State Democratic Party, and held fundraisers for Democratic candidates at his apartment in New York City. Since at least 2011, Ross has been donating to Republican candidates and organizations. He became a registered Republican in November 2016.On the subject of foreign trade, Ross has said: "I am not anti-trade. I am pro-trade, but I'm pro-sensible trade. [Being anti-trade] is a disadvantage of the American worker and the American manufacturing community." Ross has also said that the government "should provide access to our markets to those countries who play fair, play by the rules and give everybody a fair chance to compete. Those who do not should not get away with it -they should be punished." Initially in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Ross has said that after examining the agreement, he found it was "not consistent with what was advertised."Ross is a hall of fame member and past director of the Turnaround Management Association. Since 2014, Ross has been the vice-chairman of the board of Bank of Cyprus PCL, the largest bank in Cyprus.As of January 2012, Ross was the leader (or “Grand Swipe”) of the secret Wall Street fraternity, Kappa Beta Phi. He served on the board of trustees of the Brookings Institution. He is also on the board of advisors of Yale School of Management. He donated $10 million for the construction of Evans Hall at the Yale School of Management.Ross has been on the Board of Directors of Navigator Holdings since March 2012.On November 24, 2016, the Associated Press reported that Trump would nominate Ross to become United States Secretary of Commerce. The Trump transition team confirmed this November 30, 2016, and on February 27, 2017, he was confirmed by the United States Senate in a 72–27 vote.In May 2017, Ross accompanied Trump on his first foreign visit, to Saudi Arabia. In an interview on CNBC, Ross said "there was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there." Saudi Arabia banned protesting after the 2011 Arab Spring, and dissenters face the death penalty.In 2017, Ross said that a trade deal with the United Kingdom was a low priority for the Trump administration.On January 21, 2018, CNBC reported that Ross had fallen out of favor with President Trump.In November 2017, Paradise Papers reporting found that after becoming commerce secretary, Ross retained investments in Navigator Holdings, a shipping company he once controlled which transports petrochemicals for Russian gas and petrochemicals company Sibur. Sibur has American sanctions against it for its close ties to Russian oligarchs Leonid Mikhelson and Gennady Timchenko, and President Vladimir Putin's son-in-law Kirill Shamalov. He had failed to clearly disclose these ties to Russian interests during his confirmation hearings. While his confirmation was pending, Ross promised in a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics to cut ties "with more than 80 financial entities in which he has interests". This letter played a key role in securing his confirmation. However, according to the leaked documents, while he did divest some holdings, he did not disclose the full extent of those he retained. Senator Richard Blumenthal accused Ross of misleading the Senate Committee on Commerce and the American people by giving the impression that he had divested entirely from Navigator and by not disclosing Navigator's ties to the Kremlin. Blumenthal called for an investigation by the inspector general of the Commerce Department. Ross denied wrongdoing and said that he had declared his financial interests in early 2017 prior to his confirmation hearing. Speaking about his financial ties to Navigator, Ross said the media was making "a lot more out of it than it deserves" and "There is nothing wrong with it. The fact that it happens to be called a Russian company doesn't mean there is any evil in it."In 1999, Ross was awarded the Order of Industrial Service Merit medal by South Korea's President Kim Dae Jung for his assistance during the 1998 Korean financial crisis.Ross began working with Ireland and Irish-American causes starting in 2011 with an investment in the then-struggling Bank of Ireland. In recognition for his efforts on November 6, 2014 Ross was awarded the American Irish Historical Society Gold Medal at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York. The medal is awarded to "individuals who make an especially meritorious contribution to Irish American Life".Ross was awarded the medal of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by Japanese Ambassador Sumio Kusaka on behalf of the Japanese government at Kusaka's New York residence on February 2, 2015. This was in recognition for strengthening the bonds between Japan and the USA (including his service as Chairman of the Board of New York's Japan Society, which had begun in 2010 after being on its board of directors since 2005), his work to promote and strengthen the Japanese economy, and his relief efforts after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.Ross married Judith Nodine in 1961. They divorced in 1995. Together, they had two children, Jessica and Amanda. In 1995, he married his second wife, New York Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey. They divorced in 2000. On October 9, 2004, Ross married his third wife, Hilary Geary, a society writer for Quest magazine.Ross owns an art collection valued at $150 million that includes pieces ranging from Western surrealists to contemporary Eastern sculptures. Ross owns 25 works by René Magritte, valued at $100 million, including some of the artist's most valuable paintings, such as The Pilgrim.Nominees awaiting confirmation:
(3.3/122 votes)
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