Ralph V Whitworth

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For British cartoonist, see Ralph Wentworth.

Ralph Victor Whitworth (born 1955) [1] is a Founder of Relational Investors LLC, a private investment management firm based in San Diego, California, that primarily seeks out value stocks at companies it deems to be underperforming due to poor capital allocation discipline and corporate governance. Whitworth co-founded Relational with David Batchelder in 1996; the firm manages approximately $6 billion, and Whitworth is currently a Principal and member of the Investment Committee.


Whitworth grew up in rural Nevada, the son of a geologist and mining engineer. At the age of 19, he was appointed superintendent of parks and recreation in his hometown of Winnemucca, Nevada, in which position he worked to expand and modernize the community’s parks system, municipal golf course, swimming pool, and other recreational facilities. He left this position at the age of 23 to attend the University of Nevada, Reno.,[2][3] and his juris doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1985.[4]


Whitworth began his career serving on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee staff of Senator Paul Laxalt from 1981 to 1984.[1] From 1985 to 1988, he was the assistant to the General Partner at Mesa Limited Partnership under well-known oilman T. Boone Pickens. He was President of Development at United Thermal Corporation from 1989 to 1992,[5] served on the company’s Board of Directors through December 1993, and chaired the Board’s special committee to represent minority shareholders during its sale to Trigen Energy Corporation.

From 1986 to 1994 Whitworth was President (pro bono) of the United Shareholders Association, a U.S.-based advocacy group founded by Pickens.[6] The group focused on enhancing shareholder rights, improving corporate governance/financial transparency, and increasing corporate executive accountability. During this time, he authored a petition for rulemaking to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), which paved the way for a major reform in 1992 of the SEC’s shareholder communications and executive compensation disclosure rules, including a rule allowing “short slate” director nominations.[citation needed]

In 1998 he became Chairman of Apria Healthcare Group and held this position until 2005.[5] He then became Chairman of Waste Management Inc. in 1999, in the wake of an accounting and insider trading crisis, serving on its board and as the chairman of its Nominating and Governance Committee until May 2004. He has served on the board of other public companies: including Mattel, Sirius Satellite Radio, Tektronix, Inc., Sprint Nextel, Wilshire Technologies, Inc., United Thermal Corporation, Sovereign Bancorp, Genzyme Corporation, and Hewlett-Packard Company.[5][7][8] Whitworth currently is a member of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s Advisory Council.

His activities have involved him in corporate governance issues including those involving Occidental Petroleum,[9] Genzyme Corporation,[10] Sprint Nextel,[11] Home Depot,[12] Sovereign Bancorp,[13] and Waste Management.


He has also donated $1 million to the assist at-risk students in the Humboldt County school system in Winnemucca[14] and established an endowment fund at the University of Nevada, Reno[15] which bears his name. In 2003 Whitworth donated $1 million to Adopt-A-Minefield,[16] a United Kingdom-based charity that raises awareness about land mines and their associated problems. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Georgetown University Law Center. He also serves of the Board of Trustees of The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, California. In 1999, Whitworth and several partners at Relational donated $100,000 to establish a scholarship fund at Oklahoma State University, in fellow partner David Batchelder's name.[17]

Awards and accolades[edit]

- For the years 2008 through 2011, Whitworth has been recognized by NACD Directorship as one of the 100 most influential people in the boardroom and corporate governance community.[18]

- 2004: Named “Director of the Year” by Corporate Directors Forum while serving as Apria Healthcare’s Board Chairman.[19]

- 2002: BusinessWeek recognized Waste Management as one of the five “Most Improved Boards,” during Whitworth’s tenure.[20]

- 2002 & 2000: BusinessWeek cited Apria twice as one of the ten “Best Boards in America” during Whitworth’s tenure as Chairman.[5]

- 2000: Institutional Shareholder Services named Apria the “Best Governed Company in North America”.[21]


  1. ^ a b "Ralph V. Whitworth". Soylent Communications. 
  2. ^ Francesco Guerrera and James Politi (February 25, 2008). "The Lone Ranger of Boardroom Battles". Financial Times. 
  3. ^ John M. Doyle (April 18, 1993). "Ralph Whitworth: Activist Fights For Rights of Shareholders". The Seattle Times. 
  4. ^ "Ralph V. Whitworth J.D.". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d "The Executive Team - Ralph V. Whitworth". Relational Investors, LLC. 
  6. ^ Frank Evertsens (January 26, 2011). "Ralph Whitworth, Relational and CalSTRS Take On Occidental Paycheck". Zimbio.com. 
  7. ^ "HP Appoints Ralph Whitworth to Board of Directors". 
  8. ^ "Ralph V. Whitworth". Genzyme Corporation, a Sanofi company. 
  9. ^ "CalSTRS and Relational Investors Endorse Occidental Petroleum Governance". BusinessWire.com. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  10. ^ Toni Clarke (June 9, 2010). "Genzyme, Icahn reach accord, ending proxy fight". Reuters.com. 
  11. ^ "Sprint Nextel Announces Appointment of Ralph Whitworth to Its Board of Directors" (Press release). Sprint Nextel Press Release. 12 February 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008. 
  12. ^ Ann Zimmerman (February 6, 2007). "Investor to Fill Home Depot Board Seat". Wall Street Journal. 
  13. ^ Bloomberg News (January 6, 2006). "Big Holder Steps Up Fight With Sovereign Bancorp". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ David W. Toll. "Winnemucca Love Song". The Nevada Travel Network. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  15. ^ "College of Business expands Scholar". University of Nevada, Reno Silver & Blue. Spring 2011. 
  16. ^ Alex Williams (November 20, 2005). "Wedding Singers? Not!". The New York Times. 
  17. ^ "Grant Sends Professor To Ethiopia". NewOK.com. July 12, 1999. 
  18. ^ Jeff Cunningham (September 19, 2011). "The Directorship 100". NACD Directorship. 
  19. ^ "Director of the Year -Past Honorees". Corporate Directors Forum. June 5, 2006. 
  20. ^ "Apria Healthcare Announces Policy Allowing Stockholders to Nominate Directors" (Press release). PR Newswire. 11 June 2003. Retrieved 11 February 2009. 
  21. ^ James McRitchie (June 30, 2003). "SEC Comment Period Ends: Time to Assess Comments". CorpGov.net.