Gary Winnick

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This article is about the financier. For the game developer, see Gary Winnick (game developer). For the film director, see Gary Winick.
Gary Winnick
Born (1947-10-13) October 13, 1947 (age 69)
New York, New York
Nationality United States
Education B.A. C.W. Post College, Long Island University (LIU Post)
Occupation Financier and Philanthropist
Known for Senior Vice President, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Founder and Chairman, Global Crossing, Chairman, Winnick & Company
Spouse(s) Karen Winnick
Children 3

Gary Winnick is an American financier best known for founding and being Chairman of Global Crossing between 1997 and 2002. He resigned from the company in 2002 just before the company filed for bankruptcy protection.[1][2] He is a global philanthropist who has funded hospitals, museums, schools and college scholarships. The Winnick Family Foundation has funded scholarships at Stanford University, Cornell University, Brown University, Tufts University and LIU Post, and endowed a faculty position at Columbia University.[3][4]

As of April 1999, Winnick had amassed the fastest billion dollar fortune in history with $4.5 billion in 18 months from a $15 million investment in Global Crossing.[5] He reached the mark faster than Jeff Bezos (4 years), Mark Zuckerberg (4 years) and Bill Gates (12 years).[6]

He is currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Winnick & Company,[7] a diversified private investment management firm founded in 1985.[8]

Early life[edit]

Winnick was born to an Jewish family[9] in 1952 and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. His father owned a restaurant-supply business.[9] When he was 16, he got his first job at a Howard Johnson's on Northern Boulevard.[10] He graduated from the C.W. Post University, part of Long Island University, in 1969.[11]


Drexel Burnham Lambert[edit]

Winnick joined Drexel Burnham in 1972. There he was senior vice president and a partner of Michael Milken.[12]

Winnick & Company[edit]

In 1985, Winnick formed Pacific Capital Group, which was initially involved with private equity and restructuring. In 2013 the name of Pacific Capital Group changed to Winnick & Company. Winnick & Company has invested in a select group of industries, such as material science, health care, real estate and telecommunications.

Global Crossing Limited[edit]

In 1997, Winnick founded Global Crossing Limited. Global Crossing laid the first privately financed underwater fiber optic cable network across the Atlantic Ocean[13] and partnered with Microsoft and Softbank Corp. to build a high capacity telecommunications network in Asia.[14] The company, which Winnick served as Chairman, went public in 1998. Global Crossing was profitable its first year in operation.[15]

In January 2002, Global Crossing reorganized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced that Singapore Technologies Telemedia would take a controlling interest in the company. Winnick resigned as Chairman of Global Crossing in December 2002. Winnick made $734 million by selling his shares in the company nine months before it collapsed,[16][17] and donated $25 million to Global Crossing employees who lost money in the company’s 401k retirement plan. In March 2004, Winnick and other former company executives agreed to a class-action settlement with investors and former employees. An SEC investigation found the company’s accounting practices did not have a material effect on the company's finances and attributed Global Crossing's bankruptcy in part to excess capacity.[18]


Winnick founded The Winnick Family Foundation in 1983. As Chairman, he funds such initiatives as The Winnick Family Clinical Research Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and The Winnick International Conference Center of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Jerusalem.[19] He has endowed a Winnick Faculty Scholar at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Winnick serves on several boards, including The Museum of Modern Art, The Simon Wiesenthal Center and Hillel International.

Winnick has funded student scholarships at Brown University, Cornell University, Syracuse University and the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University.[20] At Long Island University, he restored the Post Mansion and transformed the main cafeteria into the Arnold S Winnick Student Center, named in memory of his late father.[21] Among the many grantees the foundation supports are the Winnick Popular Library at the Los Angeles Central Library,[22] Teach for America, the Winnick Family Children's Zoo in Los Angeles Zoo, Skirball Cultural Center's Winnick Hall, and the Los Angeles Police Foundation.[23]

Personal life[edit]

He received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, C.W. Post University, in 2004.[24] He is married to his wife, Karen Beth Winnick; they have three sons.[9] Karen is an author, illustrator, and publisher of children's books.[25][26] According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, Winnick is the "owner of the 28,000-square-foot “Bellagio House” near the Bel-Air Country Club. The grounds, famous for floral gardens, require at least 4.6 million gallons per year"-- making his personal estate's consumption of water in the arid Southern California a political issue due to drought and climate change. [27]


  1. ^ "Founder Escapes Charges in Global Crossing Failure". Los Angeles Times. 14 December 2004. 
  2. ^ "Global Crossing Chairman Gary Winnick To Resign From Board". CRN. 31 December 2002. 
  3. ^ "No Setback in Winnick's Giving". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "Endowed Professorships and Directorships". Stanford University. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  5. ^ "The $20 Billion Crumb". Forbes. Retrieved 21 December 2015. 
  6. ^ "Speed to Wealth". Forbes. Retrieved 21 December 2015. 
  7. ^ "Executive Profile". BloombergBusiness. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "The $20 Billion Crumb". Forbes. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c Jewish Journal: "Gary Winnick Steps Out Front: 'The Wealthiest Man in Los Angeles' is driven to succeed and to give to the Jewish community" by Tom Tugend September 30, 1999
  10. ^ Smith, Jim. "From Student to Benefactor". LIU Magazine (Fall 2014). Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Winnick receives honorary doctorate from C.W. Post University
  12. ^ David Cay Johnston (2003). Perfectly Legal. 
  13. ^ First privately financed underwater fiber optic cable network across the Atlantic Ocean
  14. ^ Microsoft Partners with Softbank and Global Crossing to Increase Broadband Connectivity in Asia
  15. ^ "The $20 Billion Crumb". Forbes. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  16. ^ "Global Crossing Head Offers Workers $25 Million" By SIMON ROMERO October 2, 2002
  17. ^ Shamout, Omar (2014-06-09). "Linked In". Los Angeles Business Journal. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "SEC Won't Charge, Fine Global Crossing Chairman". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  19. ^ Large Gift to Help Wiesenthal Center Build Israel Facility
  20. ^ No Setback in Winnick's Giving
  21. ^ C. W. Post Gets $10 Million Gift
  22. ^ The Winnick Family Foundation Announces Major New Gift to Los Angeles Public Library
  23. ^ Winnick Supports LA Police Foundation Community College Scholarship
  24. ^ Winnick receives honorary doctorate from C.W. Post University
  25. ^ PR Newswire: "Karen Winnick Appointed Chairwoman of Winnick Family Foundation" March 18, 2014
  26. ^ Karen Winnick website: "About Me" retrieved August 1, 2014
  27. ^

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