Donald Sussman

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Donald Sussman
Picture of Donald Sussman
Selwyn Donald Sussman[1][2]

(1946-06-08) June 8, 1946 (age 74)
Alma materNew York University (BS, MBA)
Known forPhilanthropy
Spouse(s)Laurie M. Tisch (divorced)
Chellie Pingree (divorced)

Selwyn Donald Sussman (born June 8, 1946) is an American asset manager and philanthropist who is the founder and chief investment officer of the Paloma Funds. Sussman has served on the boards of a number of civic, cultural, educational, and research institutions and is a major contributor to Democratic candidates and causes.

Early life and education[edit]

Sussman was born to a Jewish family[3] in June[4] 1946, the son of Beatrice (née Zimmerman) and William Sussman.[5] His father was a real estate developer.[5] He was raised in Miami, Florida[6] and attended high school at Windsor Mountain School, a boarding school in Lenox, Massachusetts.[5] He then attended Columbia College before continuing on to New York University, from which he earned B.S. and M.B.A. degrees.[7]


Sussman's career in finance began in 1958, when, at the age of 12, he made a sixfold return on a $300 investment in the stock of Michigan Sugar, by correctly predicting that the Cuban Revolution would disrupt sugar supplies and drive up the price of sugar commodities.[8][9] After school, he served as vice president and chief financial officer of the Titan Industrial Corporation,[5] a privately held trading firm,[10] and then managed money for the partners of a New York law firm,[10] Gelberg & Abrams.[5]

In 1981, Sussman founded Paloma Partners, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based hedge fund with mostly institutional clients.[10][11] A number of affiliated funds were established for both for U.S. investors (Paloma Partners Institutional Investors, Capital Preservation Partners, and European Merger Fund) and non-U.S. investors (Paloma International Fund, Capital Preservation Partners Limited, and European Merger Fund Limited for non-U.S. persons).[10] As a money manager, Sussman sought to keep fund strategies and management targeted rather than sprawling.[10][11] Paloma's culture was risk-averse, and Sussman sought to insulate the funds from market volatility.[11] Sussman pioneered the approach of minimizing risk by "dividing assets among independent investment professionals and demanding absolute transparency of their holdings."[11] Paloma achieved a profit in 15 out of its first 18 years.[11] Among Paloma's traders was Nicholas Maounis, who later formed Amaranth Advisors, to which Sussman provided seed money.[12]

By Paloma's middle and back-office operations were acquired by JPMorgan Worldwide Securities Services in February 2006 for an undisclosed sum.[13][14]

Following the sale to JPMorgan, Sussman has acted as a serial investor and backer of new hedge funds such as Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Empirica Capital and David Shaw's D.E. Shaw & Co.[15][16] In 2013, Paloma Partners agreed to back Rhodium Capital Advisors, LLC. Rhodium Capital, based in London, is a long-short European credit fund founded by Ifftikhar Ali and Jeffrey Tirman.[17]

In addition to the Paloma funds, Sussman is the founder of Trust Asset Management and New China Capital Management LLC.[18]

In 2012, Sussman invested approximately $3.3 million in MaineToday Media through Maine Values LLC to provide the Maine newspaper company with much-needed working capital. MaineToday Media is the owner of the Kennebec Journal, the Morning Sentinel, the Coastal Journal, the Portland Press Herald and several digital media properties. The investment, originally made as a loan, was restructured as a purchase of equity and resulted in Maine Values owning 75% of MaineToday Media.[19][20] In 2015, Sussman sold MaineToday to Reade Brower, a Maine printer and newspaper owner.[21][22]


Sussman has made substantial donations to educational, charitable, community, and political organizations.

Charitable contributions[edit]

In 1997, Sussman donated $1 million to Blue Hill Memorial Hospital to construct an outpatient building.[23] The building was later named “Sussman Medical Office Center".

In 2010, after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Sussman donated the use of his private jet to transport medical supplies to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.[24] Also in 2010, the same aircraft was used to transport a dying man back to Maine.[25] In 2010, Sussman donated funds to the Penobscot East Resource Center (PERC), an organization promoting sustainable fisheries in Maine, to build the group a new facility in Stonington, Maine.[26][27] Sussman gave $12 million to Skidmore College, a private liberal arts college in Saratoga Springs, New York, as part of a larger $200 million effort to build co-ed student housing; the newly redeveloped student housing (renamed "Sussman Village") opened in 2013.[28][29]

In 2012, Sussman's friends and colleagues established the S. Donald Sussman Award at the MIT Sloan School of Management in honor of his lifelong contribution to quantitative finance. This award is presented to individuals or groups who exhibit innovation and excellence in quantitative investment strategies and models.[30]

In 2013, Sussman donated $1 million to Pen Bay Healthcare to help complete its new Hospice House, construction of which had already begun on the northern edge of the 64-acre Pen Bay Medical Center campus in Rockport. The Hospice House was named in honor of Sussman's grandmother, Ida Sussman. Construction was completed in July 2014.[31][32]

Sussman has been a benefactor of the Weizmann Institute, an Israeli research center; he funded the Weizmann Institute's Sussman Family Building for Environmental Services (built in 1996).[10] In 2010, Sussman contributed $1 million to the University of the Virgin Islands, for a new science center.[33]

Political contributions[edit]

A liberal Democrat,[10] Sussman is a longtime donor to Democratic candidates.[34] Sussman helped raise funds in support of the political candidacies of Bill and Hillary Clinton beginning in the 1990s.[35] Sussman also raised funds for the Al Gore 2000 presidential campaign and Connecticut U.S. Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman.[10] In 2016, Sussman donated $40 million to Democratic super PACs and aligned groups, including $21 million to the Priorities USA Action super PAC supporting the presidential candidacy of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.[35] The contributions made Sussman and his Paloma Partners the single largest supporter of Democrats and Clinton in the 2016 election cycle;[35][36] in the 2018 midterm elections, Sussman was the fifth-most generous individual donor, contributing $27 million to Democrats and Democratic-aligned groups.[34] He was previously a major contributor to the Maine Democratic Party and to its arms raising money for state House and state Senate campaigns.[37] In 2011 interview, Sussman said that he regarded his political donations as a part of his broader philanthropy.[38]

Board memberships[edit]

Sussman has served as a member of the board of trustees of Carnegie Hall,[39] Skidmore College (until 2012),[40][41] the University of the Virgin Islands,[33] and the Portland Museum of Art.[39] He serves as co-chair of Carnegie Hall's Investment Committee,[40] and chair of Skidmore College's investment committee.[41] He has also served as a board member for the Center for American Progress, the Democracy Alliance, and the Foundation for Maine's Community Colleges.[39] Sussman has served as a member of the MIT Sloan School's Finance Group Advisory Board;[39] deputy chairman of the board of governors of the Weizmann Institute;[10] and honorary trustee of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School.[42]

Personal life[edit]

In 1981, Sussman married Laurie M. Tisch, daughter of billionaire philanthropist Joan Tisch and Preston Robert Tisch, the 68th United States Postmaster General and former co-owner of the New York Giants. They have two children and divorced in 1992.[43]

In 1994, Sussman purchased a home in Deer Isle, Maine.[44] In 2008, Sussman purchased Turner Farm, a historic farm located on the island of North Haven, Maine, 12 miles off shore in Penobscot Bay.[45] The history of Turner Farm dates back to the 1780s and under Sussman's ownership, the property has been returned to a working farm producing organic products.[46] In addition to Turner Farm, Sussman also formerly owned an organic farm, David's Folly Farm, in Brooksville, Maine;[39] he sold the farm to his former tenants in 2013.[47]

In 2011, Sussman was remarried to Chellie Pingree, a Democratic U.S. representative from Maine, in a private ceremony on Turner Farm.[48][49] In 2015, Pingree announced an "amicable and truly mutual decision" to end their marriage;[50] the divorce was finalized in the summer of 2016.[37]

In 2019, Sussman designed the first Eagle Class 53, a rigid-wing, sail-powered and hydro-foiled catamaran; he worked with Fast Forward Composites to build the cruiser.[51] He was inspired to create this new cruiser while watching the America's Cup. [52][53] In December 2019, the Eagle Class 53 was recognized as the Best Multihull Boat of the Year 2020 by Sailing World.[54]


He has received honorary degrees from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, and the Maine College of Art.[7] He has also received the following:

  • 2004 Alternative Investment News – Lifetime Achievement Award[55]
  • 2010 Spurwink Humanitarian of the year[49]
  • 2011 Colby College - The Maine Philanthropy Award[4]
  • 2013 Institutional Investor's Alpha Hedge Fund Hall of Fame [56][57]


  1. ^ "The top 10 Maine campaign donors in this year's elections include Sussman, Pingree, Stephen King". The Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Selwyn Donald Sussman". Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  3. ^ Times of Israel: "Jewish donors fill candidates’ war chests, especially Clinton’s" By Eric Cortellessa October 25, 2016
  4. ^ a b "Wealthy financier invests in Maine papers". The Morning Sentinel. Waterville, Maine. 2012-02-11. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  5. ^ a b c d e New York Times: "S.D. Sussman Weds Miss Tisch" March 15, 1981
  6. ^ "Man in middle of Pingree dust-up seen as generous and unassuming". The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  7. ^ a b ProPublica. "People: S. Donald Sussman".
  8. ^ "Hedged bets. (Paloma Partners, hedge fund) | HighBeam Business: Arrive Prepared". 1989-10-23. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  9. ^ "Paloma's Sussman forecasts growth for hedge fund industry". Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lois Peltz (2001). The New Investment Superstars: 13 Great Investors and Their Strategies for Superior Returns. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 247–48. ISBN 9780471403135.
  11. ^ a b c d e Barbara T. Dreyfuss (2013). Hedge Hogs: The Cowboy Traders Behind Wall Street's Largest Hedge Fund Disaster. Random House. pp. 82–83, 92.
  12. ^ Barbara T. Dreyfuss (2013). Hedge Hogs: The Cowboy Traders Behind Wall Street's Largest Hedge Fund Disaster. Random House. pp. 84, 92.
  13. ^ "JPMorgan Worldwide Securities Services to Acquire Paloma's Middle and Back Office Operations" (Press release). J.P. Morgan. February 13, 2006.
  14. ^ Donald Sussman Donates $1 Million Towards the Cost of Completing the Pen Bay Hospice Center, Jewish Business News (December 2, 2013).
  15. ^ "D.E. Shaw & Company – Hedge Fund Letters". Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  16. ^ Lubove, Seth. "Black Swan Manager Returning 23% Anticipating Bear Market". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  17. ^ "S. Donald Sussman's Paloma Partners Backs New Fund".
  18. ^ The S. Donald Sussman Award, MIT Sloan School of Management.
  19. ^ "Chellie Pingree's husband gives boost to MaineToday Media". Bangor Daily News. The Associated Press. 2012-02-10. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  20. ^ Wickenheiser, Matt (2012-03-27). "Sussman-owned group acquires 75 percent share of MaineToday Media". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  21. ^ Fishell, Darren. "Press Herald papers purchased by midcoast businessman Reade Brower". The Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2015-05-24.
  22. ^ Casey Kelly (September 6, 2018). "The man behind Maine's unparalleled consolidation of local news". Columbia Journalism Review.
  23. ^ "Blue Hill hospital gets $1 million gift". 1997-10-18. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  24. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-06-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Bill Nemitz: Plane truth is that Donald Sussman's private jet flew dying Mainer home". The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  26. ^ North Haven resident donates building to Penobscot East Resource Center, Working Waterfront Archives (June 9, 2010).
  27. ^ Penobscot East Resource Center Has New Home, Ellsworth American (June 2, 2010).
  28. ^ "Skidmore College: News Details" (Press release). Archived from the original on 2010-05-29. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  29. ^ "Sussman Village opens ahead of schedule to positive reaction". The Skidmore News. Archived from the original on 2013-09-29. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  30. ^ "MIT Sloan Finance Group S. Donald Sussman Award". MIT Sloan School of Management. 2013-04-08. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  31. ^ "Donald Sussman donates $1 million for Pen Bay Healthcare Hospice House". PenBay Pilot.
  32. ^ "Donald Sussman Donates $1 Million Towards The Cost of Completing The Pen Bay Hospice Center". Jewish Business News. December 2, 2013.
  33. ^ a b "Trustee Sussman Donates $1 Million to UVI; Revised Tuition Remission Policy Approved" (Press release). University of the Virgin Islands. June 13, 2010.
  34. ^ a b Karl Evers-Hillstrom (April 22, 2019). "The most generous megadonors of the 2020 cycle — so far". Center for Responsive Politics.
  35. ^ a b c Matea Gold (October 20, 2016). "Hedge-fund manager S. Donald Sussman gave $21 million to pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA". Washington Post.
  36. ^ "Top Contributors, federal election data for Hillary Clinton, 2016 cycle". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  37. ^ a b Villeneuve, Marina (2016-11-06). "Maine Democrats find help elsewhere after megadonor's exit". Press Herald. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  38. ^ "Donald Sussman". WLBZ. 2012-01-05. Archived from the original on 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  39. ^ a b c d e Maine Business Press (2011-03-15). "Donald Sussman to Deliver Opening Keynote at MANP Leadership Conference". Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  40. ^ a b "Skidmore College: S. Donald Sussman". Skidmore College. 2010-07-08. Archived from the original on 2010-05-29. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  41. ^ a b "Board says farewell - and thanks - to seven trustees" (Press release). Skidmore College. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  42. ^ "Who We Are". Ethical Culture Fieldston School. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  43. ^ Gordon, Amanda (2012-02-06). "Super Bowl Scene: Giants Women Tackle Football in Tisches' Owners Box". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  44. ^ "Donald Sussman". 2012-01-05. Archived from the original on 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  45. ^ "The Turner Farm: Then and Now". Turner Farm. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  46. ^ "About: History". Turner Farm. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  47. ^ Joan MacCracken (2017). "Brooksville's David's Folly Farm Creates Community" (PDF). Brooksville Breeze. p. 2.
  48. ^ "Pingree, Sussman wed". The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram. 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  49. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-10-05. Retrieved 2013-06-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  50. ^ "Chellie Pingree, Donald Sussman to end their marriage". Bangor Daily News. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  51. ^ World, Yachting (2019-08-06). "Eagle Class 53: The foiling cruiser inspired by the America's Cup". Yachting World. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  52. ^ Springer, Bill. "Influencer Interview: Financier/Philanthropist Donald Sussman Explains His New, Hyper Fast Wing-Sail-Powered Yacht". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  53. ^ "An interview with Tommy Gonzalez about the Eagle Class 53 foiling catamaran". Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  54. ^ "Boat of the Year 2020 Eagle Class 53: Best Multihull". Sailing World. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
  55. ^ "Alternative Investment News Announces Hedge Fund Industry Award Winners; Lone Pine Capital and HFR Asset Management Snag Awards; Sussman Honored. - Free Online Library". 2004-06-25. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  56. ^ "Sussman named to Hedge Fund Hall of Fame". Central Maine.
  57. ^ "Hedge Fund Hall of Fame - S. Donald Sussman".