Bill Ackman Story - A Student's Journey into the World of Finance
William Albert Ackman is a hedge fund manager and philanthropist of American origin. He is the founder-cum-CEO of the hedge fund management company, Pershing Square Capital Management LP.
William Albert Ackman was born on May 11, 1966 to Ronnie I. and Lawrence David Ackman. His father was the chairman of a New York real estate financing firm, Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group. His family was Jewish and he spent his growing up years in Chappaqua, New York.Ackman has a bachelor of arts degree 'magna cum laude' in History from Harvard College. His did his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Ackman established an investment firm, Gotham Partners in partnership with David P. Berkowitz in 1992. He in collaboration with the insurance and real estate firm , Leucadia National made a bid for Rockefeller Center. The deal failed to materialise but it heralded Gotham Partners into the limelight, winning him an impressive clientele. Gotham Partners boasted of assests worth $500 million by 1998. Ackman decided to shut down his company in 2002.
Ackman conducted a research on MBIA's AAA in 2002. It was an on-going battle between and MBIA. A book, Confidence Game has been written by Christine Richard, a Bloomberg News reporter.
Ackman set-up Pershing Square Capital Management with the financial help of Leucadia National in 2004. The company bought the shares of the fast food chain Wendy's International. His company bought 10% stake in Target Corporation in 2007 and three years later, it owned 38% shares of Borders Group. Ackman was interested in funding the sale of Barnes & Noble in 2010. He won the proxy battle as shareholder for Canadian Pacific Railway. Ackman attacked Herbalife in a report that he had compiled questioning the company's marketing business model in 2012.
Ackman is involved in numerous charitable activities. He supports the 'Center for Jewish History'. He has signed The Giving Pledge, which entails that he will donate half-of his wealth to charity. Ackman and his wife, Karen established The Pershing Square Foundation in 2006. The Foundation promotes innovation in healthcare, urban and economic development, education, human rights and arts. The Ackmans featured in the list of the most generous donors, “Philanthropy 50” of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Bill Ackman is married to Karen Ann Herskovitz, a landscape architect. The couple has three children. Karen is a member of Human Rights Watch Board of Directors. She is on the board of the charity, High Line.