|Born||Wilbur Louis Ross, Jr.
November 28, 1937
Weehawken, New Jersey, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Judith Nodine (1961–1995)
Betsy McCaughey (1995–2000)
Hilary Geary (2004–present)
|Children||2 daughters (with Nodine)|
|Education||Yale University (BA)
Harvard University (MBA)
|Net worth||US$2.5 billion (December
Wilbur Louis Ross, Jr. (born November 28, 1937) is an American investor, and former banker, known for restructuring failed companies in industries such as steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investment and textiles. He specializes in leveraged buyouts and distressed businesses. As of August 2014, Forbes magazine lists Ross as one of the world's billionaires with a net worth of $2.9 billion.
Ross is known as the "King of Bankruptcy” for his experience in buying bankrupt companies, primarily in the manufacturing and steel industries, and later selling them for a fortune after operations improve.
On November 24, 2016, it was reported by the Associated Press that Ross would be nominated for United States Secretary of Commerce by the incoming Trump Administration. The Trump transition team confirmed the President-elect's intent to nominate him on November 30, 2016.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 2.1 Rothschild Investments
- 2.2 Investments
- 3 Controversies involving Wilbur Ross
- 4 Political activities
- 5 Organizational memberships and directorships
- 6 Personal life
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Ross was born on November 28, 1937 in Weehawken, New Jersey, and grew up in an affluent family in suburban New Jersey. His father, Wilbur Louis Ross, Sr., was a lawyer who later became a judge, and his mother, Agnes (O'Neill), was a school teacher.
Ross drove two hours a day from New Jersey to attend the elite Catholic college preparatory Xavier High School in Manhattan. He ran track and was captain of the rifle team. He earned a BA degree from Yale College, which was also his father's alma mater. At Yale, Ross edited one of the literary magazines and worked at the radio station. Initially, he wanted to be a writer, but after his experience in a fiction class requiring 500 words daily, he concluded that he had "run out of material." His faculty adviser at Yale helped him get his first summer job on Wall Street. He earned his MBA degree at Harvard Business School.
Representation of investors in casinos owned by Donald Trump
In the 1980s, Donald Trump found himself in financial trouble with regards to his casinos in Atlantic City. His three casinos in Atlantic City were under foreclosure threat from lenders. Ross, then senior managing director of Rothschild Inc., represented investors in the casino. Along with Carl Icahn, Ross convinced bondholders to strike a deal with Trump that allowed Trump to keep control of the casinos.
Establishment of WL Ross & Co.
In the late 1990s, Ross started a $200 million fund at Rothschild to invest in distressed assets. As the U.S. bubble began to burst, he decided he wanted to invest more and advise less. In 2000, the 62-year-old banker raised $450 million to buyout the fund from Rothschild and make further investments in distressed assets. The new firm was named WL Ross & Co. Staff included 4 top managers who, along with Ross, make up the firm's investment committee: David H. Storper, who runs trading; David L. Wax, a longtime workout specialist; Stephen J. Toy, an Asia expert; and Pamela K. Wilson, a J.P. Morgan & Co. veteran. WL Ross & Co. was acquired by Amvescap (now Invesco) in 2006.
International Steel Group (ISG)
In 2002, Ross founded International Steel Group after purchasing the assets of several bankrupt steel companies. Ross had support of the local Steelworkers Union, negotiating a deal with them to "save" Pennsylvania's steel industry. Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers union stated about Ross that "he was open and accessible and candid and honest and he put a lot of money back into the mills, so literally tens of thousands of jobs were saved."  Ross sold International Steel Group to Mittal Steel Company for $4.5 billion, half in cash and half in stock, in April 2005.
International Textile Group (ITG)
Ross combined Burlington Industries and Cone Mills in 2004 to form International Textile Group. ITG operates five businesses, all of which operate under separate brand names: Cone Denim, Burlington Apparel Fabrics, Home Furnishings, Carlisle Finishing and Nano-Tex. In 2005, Ross purchased 77.3% of Safety Components International for $51.2 million. In 2006, Ross merged the firm into his International Textile Group. International Textile Group was sold to private equity firm Platinum Equity in 2016.
International Automotive Components Group (IAC)
International Automotive Components Group was formed in 2006 by Ross and investment funds managed by Franklin Mutual Advisers. In 2006, International Automotive Components Group purchased the European operations of Lear Corporation. In 2005-2007, IAC purchased several divisions of Collins & Aikman. In September 2005, investors led by Ross made a $100 million investment in Oxford Automotive in exchange for approximately 25% of the company. In 2006, Oxford merged with Wagon Automotive.
International Coal Group (ICG)
Ross founded the International Coal Group, which was formed after several coal companies went bankrupt. The United Mine Workers of America protested the bankruptcy reorganization as it led to changes in health care and pensions for the existing employees. Arch Coal purchased International Coal Group for $3.4 billion in 2011.
Controversies involving Wilbur Ross
In February 2014, Ross paid $81 million to settle a lawsuit brought by shareholders that Ross breached his fiduciary duty when engineering the merger of two companies that he majority-owned: Safety Components International Inc. and International Textile Group Inc.
In August 2016, Ross agreed to reimburse investors $11.8 million and pay a fine of $2.3 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission probe into the overcharging of fees by WL Ross & Co.
Sago Mine disaster
The Sago Mine disaster was a 2006 explosion in a coal mine indirectly owned by International Coal Group that led to the deaths of 12 miners. Following the disaster, the New York Post's Roddy Boyd reported that Ross "had been intimately involved with the company that owned the West Virginia mine where 12 miners perished — and he knew all about its safety problems, former executives charged." The article also reported that the mine had 12 roof collapses in 2005, and that the U.S. Department of Labor data showed 208 citations for safety violations in that same period, including 21 times for build-up of toxic gasses. Despite these figures, Ross refused to shut down the mine.
Although he was an early supporter of Donald J. Trump's presidential campaign, Ross in earlier years was a registered Democrat, served as an officer of the New York State Democratic Party, and held fundraisers for Democratic candidates at his apartment in New York City. Since at least 2011, Ross began donating to Republican candidates and organizations, and became a registered Republican in November 2016.
Ross has stated "I am not anti-trade. I am pro-trade, but I'm pro-sensible trade. [Being anti-trade] is a disadvantage of the American worker and the American manufacturing community."
Ross has stated that the government "should provide access to our markets to those countries who play fair, play by the rules and give everybody a fair chance to compete. Those who do not should not get away with it -they should be punished and severely."
Organizational memberships and directorships
Ross is a hall of fame member and past director of the Turnaround Management Association.
Ross married Judith Nodine in 1961; they had two daughters, and divorced in 1995. His second wife was former New York Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey; they married in 1995, and divorced in 2000.
On October 9, 2004, Ross married his third wife, Hilary Geary, a society writer for Quest magazine.
Ross owns an art collection conservatively valued at $150 million that includes pieces ranging from Western surrealists to contemporary Eastern sculptures. Ross owns 25 works by René Magritte, valued at $100 million, including some of the artist's most valuable paintings such as The Pilgrim.
- "Wilbur Ross, Jr". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2016-11-24.
- John Parkinson (January 18, 2017). "'King of Bankruptcy' Wilbur Ross Grilled on Trade, Climate Change and Infrastructure During Confirmation Hearing". ABC News.
- Boak, Josh (November 24, 2016). "Trump taps billionaire investor Ross for commerce secretary". Associated Press. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
- Zarroli, Jim (November 30, 2016). "Trump Taps Billionaire Investor Wilbur Ross For Commerce Secretary". NPR. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- Gross, Daniel (8 November 2004). "The Bottom Feeder King". New York Magazine. 37 (39): 22. Archived from the original on 29 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
- Byrnes, Nanette. "Is Wilbur Ross Crazy?" (December 22, 2003). Bloomberg Business Week.
- "What You Need To Know About Commerce Secretary Pick Wilbur Ross, Trump's Billionaire Pal". Fortune Magazine. November 20, 2016.
- Collins, JC. "How Rothschild Inc. Saved Donald Trump". PhilosophyOfMetrics.com. Philosophy of Metrics. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
- Benner, Katie. "Wilbur Ross Sells Out". The Street. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
- Arnold, Chris (December 14, 2016). "Wilbur Ross: The Best Commerce Secretary Pick Dems Could Hope For?". NPR.
- Kosman, Josh (October 8, 2014). "Wilbur Ross Sells Out". The New York Post.
- "Wilbur Ross Buys 77.3% of Safety Components International from Zapata Corp. for $51.2 Million" (Press release). PRNewswire. September 26, 2005.
- "International Textile Group, Inc. and Safety Components International, Inc. Announce Agreement to Combine" (Press release). PRNewswire. August 30, 2006.
- "International Textile Group Acquired By Platinum Equity" (Press release). PRNewswire. October 24, 2016.
- "Wilbur Ross-backed International Automotive Components files for $115 million IPO". Reuters. June 14, 2013.
- "Lear Corp. working on IAC deal with W.L. Ross". Plastics News. December 4, 2006.
- "Ross completes deal for Collins & Aikman operations". Automotive News. October 12, 2007.
- "Wilbur Ross-Led Investors To Provide Oxford Automotive USD $100 Million of New Equity" (Press release). PRNewswire. September 15, 2005.
- "Oxford Automotive, Wagon merge". Automotive News. March 20, 2006.
- James Dao (October 24, 2004). "Miners' Benefits Vanish With Bankruptcy Ruling". New York Times.
- "Arch Coal Completes Acquisition of International Coal Group" (Press release). June 15, 2011.
- Benjamin Horney (February 20, 2014). "$81M Settlement In Wilbur Ross Merger Case Wins Initial OK".
- Josh Kosman (August 25, 2016). "SEC slaps Wilbur Ross for misallocating fees". The New York Post.
- Boyd, Roddy. "N.Y. Exec knew of problems: Ex-Honchos". New York Post (January 5, 2006).
- "Yale School of Management | Educating Leaders for Business and Society". Mba.yale.edu. 2016-11-18. Retrieved 2016-11-24.
- "Trump Commerce Pick Ross Was Registered Democrat Until Mid-Nov.". www.newsmax.com. 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
- "Turnaround, Restructuring, and Distressed Investing Industry Hall of Fame". New York Magazine.
- Roose, Kevin. "One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag: What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society". New York Magazine. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- "Board of Trustees". Brookings. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
- "Three Yale alums among Trump's Cabinet picks". December 5, 2016.
- "Wilbur Ross Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
- Cowan, Alison Leigh (October 17, 2004). "Weddings: Hilary Geary and Wilbur Ross Jr.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-11-24.
- Chen, Liyan (8 October 2013). "Billionaire Art Collector Wilbur Ross Loves Magrittes, Paid $100 Million For His Own". Forbes Magazine.
- Bennett, Jeff. "Wilbur Ross Says His Auto-Parts Acquisition Spree Has Far to Go". Bloomberg (March 30, 2006).
- Gross, Daniel. "The Bottom-Feeder King". New York Magazine (November 8, 2004).
- Stein, Nicholas. "Wilbur Ross Is A Man Of Steel... and textiles and optical networking and anything else in deep, deep trouble". CNN; Fortune (May 26, 2003).
- Pollack, Andrew. "The Man (and the System) behind the Mining Murders". Monthly Review Website (January 6, 2006).
- Gross, Daniel. "Is Wilbur Ross the next Andrew Carnegie?". Slate (January 16, 2003).
- Morning Edition (NPR) article - "Wilbur Ross: Finding His Calling" - September 15, 2008
- Profile at the Yale School of Management