"A risk-taking speculator" --POLITICO, 11/28/16
Wilbur Ross, CEO of WL Ross & Co. LLC, may be one of the best known private equity investors in the U.S. His private equity funds bought Bethlehem Steel and several other bankrupt producers and revitalized them into the largest U.S. producer before merging them into Mittal Steel for $4.5 billion.
Ross remains a director of what is now ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company. He also created and chairs International Textile Group, the most global American company in that industry; and International Auto Components Group, a $4.5 billion producer of instrument panels and other interior components, operating in 17 countries, and recently sold Homeward Residential, a leading originator and servicer of subprime mortgages. He had chaired International Coal Group which was sold to Arch Coal for $3.4 billion. He is a member of the Boards of Air Lease Corp., Assured Guaranty and BankUnited, all NYSE-listed, of PLASCAR listed in Brazil, and Sun Bancorp which is traded over the counter. He recently became chairman of Diamond S Shipping which has committed to a 38 vessel tanker fleet, and is a director of Navigator which has 24 LPG tankers. Most recently WL Ross has acquired substantial interests in five U.S. banks and in Bank of Ireland and England’s Virgin Money. Ross is also a Board member of Bank of Ireland and Talmer Bancorp.
Ross was executive managing director of Rothschild Inc. for 24 years before acquiring that firm’s private equity partnerships in 2000. He is a Board member of Yale University School of Management, The Dean’s Advisory Board of Harvard Business School, Partnership for New York City, Palm Beach Civic Association, Business Roundtable, The Blenheim American Foundation, Palm Beach Preservation Foundation and the Council of the U.S./India Business Council. He is chairman of the Japan Society and a trustee of the Town of Palm Beach Retirement System. President Kim Dae Jung awarded him a medal for his assistance in Korea’s financial crisis, President Clinton appointed him to the Board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund and he served as privatization advisor to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Ross formerly served as chairman of the Smithsonian Institution National Board. Bloomberg Markets magazine designated him one of the 50 most influential people in Global Finance. Ross is a graduate of Yale University and of Harvard Business School (with distinction). He is the only person elected both to the Private Equity Hall of Fame and the Turnaround Management Association Hall of Fame. In 2011, Bloomberg BusinessWeek designated him one of the 50 Most Important Financiers in the World.
In November 2017, Forbes said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lied about being a billionaire, saying Ross had just under $700 million in assets. It cited financial-disclosure forms filed by Ross after being nominated for Commerce secretary.
It removed him when it updated its list of richest Americans. "It seems clear that Ross lied to us, the latest in an apparent sequence of fibs, exaggerations, omissions, fabrications and whoppers that have been going on with Forbes since 2004," Forbes' report said.