Chairman and CEO, WL Ross & Co. LLC
Wilbur Ross is probably the best known turnaround financier in the U.S. Because he has restructured over $200 billion of defaulted companies around the world, Fortune Magazine has nicknamed him the “King of Bankruptcy.” After 26 years as Executive Managing Director of Rothschild Inc., the U.S. affiliate of the Rothschild family’s merchant banking group, he bought the firm’s distressed investment activities on April 1, 2000 and immediately opened offices in New York City, Tokyo and Seoul. Since then, the firm has created private investment partnerships and hedge funds totaling in excess of $1.6 billion. Its major investments have been buying a failed bank from the Japanese government, a failed life insurance company from the Korean government, a bankrupt Japanese auto parts company, and the assets of three steel companies. The firm also became the largest creditor of Burlington Industries subsequent to its bankruptcy filing and was a major beneficiary of the acquisition of Fruit of the Loom by Berkshire Hathaway. In April 2002, he organized and became board chairman of International Steel Group which acquired the assets of LTV, the third largest U.S. integrated steel producer. ISG subsequently acquired Acme Steel and is scheduled to acquire Bethlehem Steel on April 28, creating the largest integrated steel company in the U.S. Mr. Ross holds an A.B. from Yale and an M.B.A. with Distinction from Harvard. In 1999, President Kim Dae Jung awarded him a medal for his help during Korea’s recent financial crisis. Earlier, President Clinton had appointed him to the Board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund. He is a board member of the Turnaround Management Association, and of Kansai Sawayaka Bank and Nikko Electric Co. in Japan, Tong Yang Life Insurance Co. in Korea, and of Syms Corp., 360networks Corp., Casella Waste Systems and Clarent Hospital Corp. in the U.S. He is also a former Chairman of the Smithsonian Institution National Board, and was Privatization Advisor to former New York City Mayor Giuliani. He is a member of The Business Roundtable and the New York Society of Security Analysts Committee on Alternative Investments.