The world has lost a legend in the financial world today with the passing of Bruce Wasserstein. We honor his life in this blog with his biography from www.wikipedia.com.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born: December 25, 1947, Brooklyn NY
Died: October 14, 2009
Nationality: United States
Alma mater: University of Michigan, Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School
Occupation: Investment banker
Employer: Lazard Ltd.
Net Worth: $2.3 billion USD1
Bruce Wasserstein (born December 25, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, died October 14, 2009)2 was an American investment banker and businessman. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Law School, and was the Chairman and CEO of Lazard.3
Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Morris Wasserstein, a wealthy textile executive, and his wife, Lola Schleifer, Wasserstein is one of five children. He had two late sisters: pioneering businesswoman Sandra Meyer and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein, whose daughter he is now raising. His maternal grandfather was Simon Schleifer, a prominent Polish Jewish playwright who moved to Paterson, New Jersey and became a Hebrew school principal.
Wasserstein helped broker more than a thousand transactions worth $250 billion since the 1980s. Starting his career as a Cravath, Swaine & Moore attorney, he later rose to co-head of First Boston Corp.’s dominant merger and acquisition practice.
He eventually formed investment bank boutique Wasserstein Perella & Co., which he sold in 2000, at the top of the 1990s bull market, to Germany’s Dresdner Bank for about $1.4 billion in stock.4 He left the unit Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (formed by merging Dresdner’s UK unit Kleinwort Benson with Wasserstein Perella) to take the job at Lazard Frères.
In 2005, Wasserstein completed the initial public offering of Lazard after getting into a corporate fight with Chairman Michel David-Weill who said that he regretted having ever hired Wasserstein.
Bruce Wasserstein controls Wasserstein & Co., a private equity firm with investments in a number of industries, particularly media. In 2004, he added New York Magazine to his growing media empire. In July 2007, he sold American Lawyer Media to Incisive Media for about $630 million in cash.
After making a $25 million donation5 to Harvard Law School, the large academic wing of the school’s new Northwest Corner complex will be named Wasserstein Hall, in his honor.
According to Forbes as of 9/17/08, Wasserstein’s net worth is estimated to be $2.3 billion.1 Wasserstein was divorced three times. In January 2009 he married his fourth wife, Angela Chao – one of four sisters of Elaine Chao, who was secretary of labor under George W. Bush. Angela is an executive at her father James Chao’s Foremost Group, a shipping and trade concern, and on the board of BIMCO a trade organisation. She graduated from Harvard in three years, worked in investment banking at Smith Barney, and briefly at her father’s shipping company before going to Harvard Business School, and then back to Foremost.
On October 12, 2009 Wasserstein was admitted to the hospital with an irregular heartbeat. It was originally reported that his condition was serious, but that he was stable and recovering.6 On October 14, 2009 Wasserstein was pronounced dead.7
2 WASSERSTEIN, Bruce International Who’s Who. accessed September 3, 2006.
3 Lazard Ltd
4 Dresdner buys Wasserstein in $1.4 billion deal – Sep. 18, 2000
5 Coming to Harvard Law School: Wasserstein Hall – Mergers, Acquisitions, Venture Capital, Hedge Funds – DealBook – New York Times
Donald R. van Deventer
Honolulu, October 14, 2009