Leon G. Cooperman

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Leon G. Cooperman
Born (1943-04-25) April 25, 1943 (age 73)
Residence Short Hills, New Jersey, US
Ethnicity Jewish[1]
Citizenship American
Alma mater Hunter College
Columbia University (M.B.A.)
Occupation Founder and Chairman/CEO of Omega Advisors
Known for Started Goldman Sachs' asset management arm
Net worth US$3.2 billion (March 2016)[2]
Religion Judaism[1]
Spouse(s) Toby Cooperman
Children Wayne Cooperman
Michael Cooperman
Website https://www.omega-advisors.com

Leon G. "Lee" Cooperman (born April 25, 1943) is an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He is the chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, Inc.[3] On September 21, 2016 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Cooperman and Omega Advisors with insider trading.[4] He denied the charges.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Cooperman was born to a Jewish[1] family in the South Bronx, New York City.[6] He is the son of immigrants from Poland.[7] Cooperman was the first in his family to earn a college degree.[8][9] As an undergraduate at Hunter College, Cooperman joined and was an active member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi. After graduating, he became a quality control engineer at Xerox in 1965.[2] Cooperman later received his MBA from Columbia Business School, graduating in 1967.[10]

He has an honorary doctorate in finance from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.[11][12][13]


Directly after graduating from Columbia, Cooperman joined Goldman Sachs. He spent his first twenty two years at Goldman in the Investment Research Department as partner-in-charge, co-chairman of the Investment Policy Committee and chairman of the Stock Selection Committee.[4][citation needed] In 1989, he became chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Asset Management[14][15] and was chief investment officer of the equity product line including managing the GS Capital Growth Fund, an open-end mutual fund, for one and one-half years.[16]

At the end of 1991 after twenty five years of service, Cooperman retired from his positions as a general partner of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and as chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Asset Management in order to organize a private investment partnership, under the direction of Omega Advisors, Inc.[17][18][19][20][21]

Cooperman is the chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, Inc., a New York-based investment advisory firm managing over $6 billion in assets.[22] As a designated Chartered Financial Analyst, he is a senior member and past president of the New York Society of Security Analysts and is chairman emeritus of the Saint Barnabas Development Foundation, a member of the board of overseers of the Columbia.[23]

For nine consecutive years, Cooperman was voted the number-one portfolio strategist in the Institutional Investor "All-America Research Team" survey.[24][25]

In 2012, Cooperman was included in the 50 Most Influential list of Bloomberg Markets magazine.[26] Forbes listed him as one of the 40 Highest-Earning hedge fund managers in 2013,[27] and the next year it listed him among the top 25.[28]

On September 21, 2016, Cooperman was charged with insider trading by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.[4][29] He denied the charges.[30][31][32] He doesn't face criminal charges.[33]

Personal life[edit]

With his wife Toby, he has two sons, Wayne and Michael, and three grandchildren.[1][34][35][8]

In November 2011 Cooperman gained attention for an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama in which among other things charged the president with engaging in class warfare.[36][37] This letter has been characterized by Joseph Palermo of The Huffington Post as a rant bemoaning the mistreatment of billionaires by the president and his "minions" (Cooperman's word).[38]


He and his wife Toby are signators of The Giving Pledge[39] and manage the Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation.

Cooperman has a long history of supporting Columbia Business School. In 2011, he donated $25 million to support the expansion of the school's campus. In 2007, he created the Cooperman Scholarship Challenge, helping to create over 40 need based scholarships. In 2000, he established the Leon Cooperman Scholarship to support financial aid for need based students. In 1995, he endowed the Leon Cooperman Professorship of Finance and Economics.[40]

Cooperman was the first in the country to endow Birthright Israel, a program that sends Jews aged 18–26 on free short-term visits to Israel to promote Jewish identity. Cooperman states: "We are very proud of our religion, our heritage, the many accomplishments of the Jewish people, and the enormous contribution they make to society. But we are very concerned about the pace of assimilation and really the disappearance of the Jewish religion. Through intermarriage and rapid assimilation, we’re disappearing. We’re trying to make our effort to help either slow that down or reverse it.”[1]

He is also a founding Master Player of the Portfolios with Purpose virtual stock trading contest.[41]

In April 2014, the Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation pledged $25 million to the Saint Barnabas Medical Center for the construction of a new 200,000 square-foot Cooperman Family Pavilion.[42]

He is on the board of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.[24][43]


  1. ^ a b c d e New Jersey Jewish News: "Family’s $5 million gift is devoted to continuity - Cooperman Fund will help Birthright, camps, and teen philanthropy" by Johanna Ginsberg February 10, 2010
  2. ^ a b Forbes: The World's Billionaires - Leon G. Cooperman March 2016
  3. ^ "Forbes profile: Leon G. Cooperman". Forbes.com.
  4. ^ a b SEC News Press Release: "SEC Charges Hedge Fund Manager Leon Cooperman With Insider Trading" September 21, 2016
  5. ^ Foxman, Simone (21 September 2016). "Cooperman Says 'I Won't Let These People Destroy My Legacy'". bloomberg.com. Bloomberg Markets. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  6. ^ "Hedge Fund - Omega Advisors". Insider Monkey. March 31, 2014. 
  7. ^ Freeland, Chrystia (8 October 2012). "Super-Rich Irony". newyorker.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. ... going on to describe his humble beginnings in the South Bronx, as the son of working-class parents—his father was a plumber—who had emigrated from Poland. 
  8. ^ a b Delevingne, Lawrence (15 July 2014). "Alpha addict: The amazing career of Leon Cooperman". cnbc.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. ... was the first in his family to go to college... 
  9. ^ Strauss, Lawrence C. (20 May 2013). "Cues From Cooperman". barrons.com. Barron's. Retrieved 21 September 2016. The son of a plumber, Cooperman grew up in the Bronx and was the first member of his family to get a college degree, in his case at Hunter College. 
  10. ^ Durgy, Edwin (23 April 2012). ""Great Sense Of Gratitude" Inspires $25 Million Gift From Hedge Fund Billionaire To Alma Mater". Forbes.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. Cooperman has served on the Board of Overseers at Columbia Business School for more than 20 years and received his MBA from the school in January of 1967. 
  11. ^ "Leon G. Cooperman". columbia.edu. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  12. ^ "Leon G. Cooperman Ph.D., CFA: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". bloomberg.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  13. ^ "EOC presents Burton Kossoff Lecture Series". baruch.cuny.edu. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  14. ^ "Wall Street; Investing Goldman's New Money". The New York Times. 3 June 1990. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  15. ^ "Market Place; Sotheby's Stock Loses Some Gloss". The New York Times. 24 November 1989. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  16. ^ "A Partner Is Retiring At Goldman, Sachs". The New York Times. 2 July 1991. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  17. ^ "Omega Advisors, Inc. - Home Pages". omega-advisors.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  18. ^ "Omega Partners' Leon Cooperman takes stake in Waltham tech firm Lionbridge - Boston Business Journal". bizjournals.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  19. ^ "Why Leon Cooperman is Spending Billions on These 3 Small-Cap Stocks". nasdaq.com. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  20. ^ Staff, AOL. "Hedge Fund Billionaire Leon Cooperman Is Giving Most of It Away". aol.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  21. ^ "10. Leon Cooperman". forbes.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. He departed in 1991 to found Omega, his own fund management company. 
  22. ^ "Company Overview of Omega Advisors, Inc.". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Leon G. Cooperman". cnbc.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  24. ^ a b "JTS Gala Event on "Good Investing and Investing in Good" Will Honor Richard S. Pzena in May". jtsa.edu. 4 April 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016. For nine consecutive years, he was voted the number-one portfolio strategist in Institutional Investor magazine’s annual “All-America Research Team” survey. A designated Chartered Financial Analyst, Mr. Cooperman is a past president of the New York Society of Security Analysts. He is chairman emeritus of the Saint Barnabas Development Foundation; a member of the board of overseers of Columbia University Graduate School of Business and the board of directors of Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation; on the investment committee of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center; and board chairman of Green Spaces in Newark, New Jersey. 
  25. ^ "Humble Beginnings, Leon Cooperman's Top-Yield Stocks in Review". nasdaq.com. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  26. ^ Robert S. Dieterich (September 4, 2012). "Most Influential 50 in 2012 Shows Turmoil: Bloomberg Markets". Bloomberg Markets. 
  27. ^ Vardi, Nathan (Feb 26, 2013), "The 40 Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers & Traders 2013", Forbes 
  28. ^ Vardi, Nathan (Feb 26, 2014), "The 25 Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers And Traders", Forbes 
  29. ^ Alexandra Stevenson; Matthew Goldstein (21 September 2016). "Hedge Fund Manager Leon Cooperman Charged With Insider Trading". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  30. ^ "Leon Cooperman Denies SEC Insider Trading Charges". bloomberg.com. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  31. ^ Pramuk, Jacob (21 September 2016). "Leon Cooperman: SEC charges are without merit; we will vigorously defend ourselves". cnbc.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  32. ^ Merle, Renae (21 September 2016). "Hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman charged with insider trading". washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  33. ^ Neil Weinberg; Patricia Hurtado (21 September 2016). "Why Cooperman Isn't Facing Criminal Charges: QuickTake Q&A". Bloomberg Markets. bloomberg.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  34. ^ "WEDDINGS; Miss Holtz, Mr. Cooperman". nytimes.com. 19 March 1995. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  35. ^ Wee, Gillian (28 June 2012). "Cooperman Says Earning 13% in Stocks Takes 'Average IQ'". bloomberg.com. Bloomberg Markets. Retrieved 21 September 2016. Despite being a billionaire, Cooperman, who has three grandchildren, says he has no plans to retire soon. 
  36. ^ Leon's Open Letter. International Business Daily. Nov 30, 2011.
  37. ^ Andrew Ross Sorkin. "It's Tone, Not Taxes, a Tycoon Tells the President". DealBook, The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  38. ^ Joseph Palermo (7 December 2011). "Billionaire Leon Cooperman Writes "Open Letter to President Obama"". huffingtonpost.com. 
  39. ^ "Zuckerberg and Icahn Join Buffett and Gates on Giving Pledge List". The New York Times. December 9, 2010. 
  40. ^ Karen Paff (April 23, 2012). "Leon Cooperman Gives School $25 Million for Manhattanville Campus". Columbia Business School. 
  41. ^ Ziegler, Maseena (1 December 2012). "When Quitting Is Not An Option - How You Can Find Purpose And Fulfillment Through Your Career". Forbes. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  42. ^ "Saint Barnabas Medical Center receives largest donation in its history". NJBiz. April 8, 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  43. ^ "The 400 Richest Americans: #377 Leon G Cooperman". forbes.com. 17 September 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2016. On board of Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. 

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