Charles Wang

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Charles Wang
Born (1944-08-19) August 19, 1944 (age 69)
Shanghai, Empire of Japan (Occupied China)
Occupation Owner, New York Islanders,
Co-founder, CA Technologies,
Investor
Charles Wang
Chinese 王嘉廉

Charles B. Wang (Chinese: 王嘉廉; pinyin: Wáng Jiālián; born August 19, 1944) is a businessman and philanthropist who was a co-founder and former CEO of Computer Associates International, Inc. (later renamed to CA Technologies). He is currently the owner of the National Hockey League's New York Islanders [1] ice hockey team and their American Hockey League ("AHL") affiliates, an investor in numerous businesses, and benefactor to charities including SmileTrain.

In 1976, at age 31, Wang launched Computer Associates, using credit cards for funding. Wang grew Computer Associates into one of the country's largest software vendors. Wang has authored two books to help executives master technology: Techno Vision (1994, McGraw-Hill) and Techno Vision II (1997, McGraw-Hill). Wang retired from Computer Associates in 2002. He is an active philanthropist, working with such organizations as Smile Train, the World Childhood Foundation, the Islanders Children’s Foundation and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, among others.

Early life

Charles B. Wang was born in Shanghai to parents Kenneth and Mary Wang. Charles has two brothers, Anthony W. Wang and Francis Wang. His father was a Supreme Court judge in pre-Communist China. The Wangs moved to Queens, New York, when he was eight years old. He attended Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Mr. Wang earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Queens College and began his computer career at Columbia University's Riverside Research Institute.

New York Islanders

Charles Wang is currently the majority owner of the New York Islanders hockey franchise, of which he had become a part-owner in 2000. He later bought out the share of business partner Sanjay Kumar in 2004, and acquired the original Iowa Barnstormers Arena Football League franchise, moving them to Long Island, and renaming them the New York Dragons. Wang’s sometimes unorthodox decisions as owner have received a mixture of praise and criticism.

According to former Islanders GM Mike Milbury, Wang “assumed that nobody could put a goal past a sumo wrestler”. Milbury said that “He was a man of his word, a guy who desperately wanted to keep the team on the Island.”[2]

Wang initially had a willingness to spend money with the goal of making the Islanders competitive; however, recent team payrolls have decreased as the Islanders failed to reach the playoffs between the 2006-07 and 2012-13 seasons.

Wang hired Neil Smith as the Islanders' general manager during the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, but 40 days later Smith was fired due to his unwillingness to adhere to the "management by committee" style of Wang. Wang then gave the job to Garth Snow, who subsequently retired from his playing position as the team's backup goaltender. Wang said that "philosophical differences" were the basis for firing Smith. This series of personnel moves, combined with Wang’s approval of long-term contracts for Alexei Yashin and goaltender Rick DiPietro several years later, inspired a critical reaction from hockey journalists.[3] Mike Milbury reported that he had to talk Wang out of giving Michael Peca a ten year deal.[2]

A Forbes article investigated why certain NHL franchises could remain profitable despite poor attendance and overall league unprofitability. They found that several league owners under-reported their cable broadcast revenue; they specifically accused Wang of excluding half of the $17 million paid to the Islanders for the 2003 cable broadcast season. Wang made numerous efforts to build a new arena in Nassau County, as the Veterans Memorial Coliseum is the second oldest active arena, and the Islanders lease ends in 2015.[4]

He was the master developer of The Lighthouse Project, a property transformation of the Nassau Coliseum and surrounding 150 acres (0.61 km2). The project was to include a five-star hotel; condominiums; an athletic complex featuring four ice rinks, a basketball facility, and a state-of-the-art health club that would have served as the Islanders’ practice facility and also be open to the public. The development would also have included a sports technology center, open-air plaza, and conference center. The project was deemed to be too large by the Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, who made a counter-proposal that was about half the size of what Wang had originally intended. Wang balked at Murray's proposal, and decided to try to finance the building of a new arena for the Islanders with public funds, rather than paying for it himself as part of the Lighthouse Project. In May 2011, Mr. Wang, along with Nassau County started an 82-day campaign for a $400 million bond to fund a new arena for the Islanders. On August 1, 2011, the proposal was defeated by a margin of 57% to 43%.[5]

Wang has stated that he would not have bought the team if he knew how difficult it would be, and would not do so if he could choose again.[6] A New York Times article detailed Wang’s “desperate” attempts to keep the team on Long Island.[7] Ultimately, however, Wang was unable to secure a renovated or new arena in Uniondale. Jeff Wilpon, the COO of Major League Baseball's New York Mets discussed the possibility of buying the Islanders from Wang and moving them adjacent to the Mets' home ballpark, Citi Field in Flushing, Queens.[8] There were also reports that businessman Nelson Peltz wanted to buy the Islanders from Wang and move them to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.[9] On October 24, 2012 Wang announced that the Islanders would move to the Barclays Center in 2015, after the end of their lease at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.[10] In various interviews, Wang said that “it was Brooklyn, or out of town.” [11] Despite the move the franchise will remain named as the New York Islanders and they are technically still on Long Island.[2]

Philanthropy

Wang is an active philanthropist and in 1999 established the Charles B. Wang Foundation with the goal of donating to numerous charities that focused on bettering the lives of children and the disenfranchised. He has worked with such causes as Smile Train, the World Childhood Foundation, the Plainview Chinese Cultural Center and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, among others. His donation of over $50 million to the State University of New York at Stony Brook for the construction of the Charles B. Wang Center was, at the time, the largest in history to a SUNY school. He also funded the expansion of the Chinatown Health Clinic which was renamed the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center.

As the co-Founder and Chairman of Smile Train in 1999, Mr. Wang originally gave $30 million to cover all administrative expenses and has remained active in the charity’s efforts to help children with cleft lip and palates, in more than 80 countries.

One of the more important attributes that Mr. Wang brought to his ownership of the Islanders was to expand their community-based programs through the Islanders Children’s Foundation, which started in 2003 and has become a mainstay. The Foundation works with children’s health, education, and youth hockey development charities. In 2006, the team created Project Hope, which is focused on developing ice hockey in China. Wang recruited women's professional hockey player, Angela Ruggiero, to the project as well.[12]

In 2000, Wang and his brothers, Anthony and Francis, donated a new law school to China's Soochow University in honor of their father Kenneth Wang and in celebration of the university's 100th anniversary,[13] it opened officially in 2003.

Computer Associates

Charles Wang and partner Russell Artzt established Computer Associates in 1976, guiding the company toward its current standing as one of the largest independent software corporations in the world. One year later, Computer Associates became the first enterprise software company to provide multi-platform products, foreshadowing its ongoing emphasis on compatibility and integration. By 1989, Computer Associates became the first software company to reach $1 billion in revenues.

Wang’s tenure as CEO of Computer Associates was marked by rapid growth, frequently as a result of strict hiring practices and high expectations for executives of acquired companies. Nearly all of CA's managers were promoted from within, so very few acquired managers were kept. Newly hired salespeople had some sales experience, but not in software. It was unusual for a technician to be considered for sales because CA's training program was geared toward products instead of professional selling. The pass/fail demarcation was sharp, so perceived inadequate sales performance meant termination. All told, Wang engaged in several dozen acquisitions and those acquired facilities were repopulated with CA employees.

He was also known for his commitment to a family-oriented management style, and for promoting several women to management positions. In 1979, three years after CA's founding, Wang had installed his older brother Tony, a one-time corporate lawyer, as president and COO. Tony held the position until his retirement in 1992 to make way for Sanjay Kumar, who joined CA via its 1987 acquisition of archrival Uccel Corporation. In 1998, Nancy Li, Charles Wang's second wife, was named CA's Chief Technology Officer ("CTO"). Responding to criticism over his so-called “paternalistic” management style, Wang has argued that the investment community punished CA's stock because of his refusal to override his sense of familial loyalty to avoid the appearance of nepotism.[14]

In 1998, Wang had initiated a $9 billion hostile takeover for the shares of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). The Washington Post reported CSC management’s “concern” about the tender offer by alluding to CA's "ties to foreigners." It was a pointed reference to Wang's origin and that certain Chinese government institutions (as well as those in the US, Europe and elsewhere) were CA clients. The suggestion was that becoming linked with CA would jeopardize CSC's contracts with U.S. government agencies. Blaming what in his view was a witch-hunt with racial motivations, Wang dropped the tender offer.

In 2000, a class-action lawsuit accused Wang, then president Sanjay Kumar and co-founder Russell Artzt of wrongly reporting more than $2.5 billion in revenue in its 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 fiscal (April through March) years, in order to artificially inflate the stock price. A previous stock option set in 1995 specified that a certain number of shares would vest when Computer Associates' shares sustained a target price. The benchmark was met in 1998, and the three executives combined received nearly $1 billion in Computer Associates stock with Wang himself netting $700 million; he had already been the highest paid CEO in the US for the past four years.[15] Since then, at least four other class-action suits were filed against Computer Associates, all of which have named Wang specifically, and all of which were settled or dismissed without finding any liability on Wang’s part. As the controversy continued to dog Wang even after he returned a portion of the stock award, he quit as CEO in 2000, and later resigned as Chairman of the Board in 2002.[16][17][18][19]

Sanjay Kumar resigned as chairman and chief executive in April 2004, following an investigation into the accounting scandal which improperly reported revenue. A federal grand jury in Brooklyn indicted Kumar on fraud charges on September 22, 2004.[20] Kumar pled guilty to obstruction of justice and securities fraud charges on April 24, 2006.[21]

Awards and honors

On May 3, 2009, Wang was honored by the Los Angeles Chinese Historical Society of Southern California in "Celebrating Chinese Americans in Sports".[22]

Long Island residence

Wang's Oyster Bay mansion is located near Sagamore Hill, President Theodore Roosevelt's home.[23]

References

  1. ^ "Charles Wang: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". investing.businessweek.com. 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/sports/hockey/charles-b-wang-the-islanders-unorthodox-owner.html?_r=3&
  3. ^ Diamos, Jason (July 20, 2006). "Owner of the Islanders Dares to Be Different". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Botte, Peter (2011). "New York Islanders owner Charles Wang, Nassau County officials pitch $400M arena project - New York Daily News". articles.nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Caldwell, Dave (August 2, 2011). "Nassau Voters Reject Proposal to Fix Coliseum". New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "New York Islanders owner Charles Wang regrets buying struggling team - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2009-05-03. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  7. ^ "An Owner With Some Eyebrow-Raising Moves". http://www.nytimes.com/. 2012-10-12. 
  8. ^ Mennella, Dan (2010-05-12). "Mets, Isles talk about arena near Citi". MLB.com. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  9. ^ Hirshon, Nicholas (January 7, 2011). "Brooklyn-Queens battle for the Islanders team brewing". Daily News (New York). 
  10. ^ "New York Islanders following Nets to Brooklyn". ESPN.com. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Wang WFAN Summary: " It Was Brooklyn Or Out Of Town "". 
  12. ^ Brett Hoover. "Angela Ruggiero". Ivy @ 50. Retrieved 16 April 2010. 
  13. ^ "Kenneth Wang School of Law - PH Tuan, Architect - Soochow University, Suzhou, China". Aa2sbu.aasquared.org. 2002-10-22. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  14. ^ "Software's Tough Guy, Part 1". Businessweek. 2000-03-05. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ "The Package That Launched a Dozen Lawsuits". Businessweek.com. 2000-04-17. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  17. ^ "CA to Pursue Claims Against Founder Charles Wang (Update3)". Bloomberg. April 13, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Computer Associates Founder Charles Wang Government's Next Target | PowerBuilder Journal". Pbdj.sys-con.com. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  19. ^ "CA Founder Wang 'Personally Directed' Fraud, Ex-Chief Says". Bloomberg. September 4, 2008. 
  20. ^ "CA's ex-CEO is indicted on fraud". CNN. September 22, 2004. 
  21. ^ "Ex-CA chief Kumar pleads guilty". CNN. April 24, 2006. 
  22. ^ CHSSC News and Notes April 2009
  23. ^ Anthony Bianco (March 6, 2000). "Software's Tough Guy". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 

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