Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. (2017-2021)
Wilbur Louis Ross, Jr. was born on November 28, 1937, in Weehawken, New Jersey. He attended Yale University, graduating in 1959. He then earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1961.
He entered the business world as an investment banker. In 1976, he joined the investment bank of Rothschild, Inc, and worked there until 2000. He specialized in bankruptcy and restructuring, building new companies from assets of defaulted ones. He collaborated with Donald Trump in the 1980s when Trump’s three Atlantic City casinos were financially collapsing. Ross helped Trump reach a deal with his investors to keep the casinos.
In 2000, Ross opened his own private equity firm, WL Ross & Co, LLC, and he served as the chairman and the chief strategy officer. He then went on to establish a number of different companies: International Steel Group (2000), International Coal Group (2004), International Textile Group (2004), and the International Automotive Components (2006). In 2006, WL Ross & Co was acquired by the independent investment firm of Invesco.
President-elect Donald Trump announced that he was nominating Ross as the 39th Secretary of Commerce shortly after his election on November 30, 2016. The US Senate confirmed Ross by a vote of 72-27 on February 27, 2017, and Ross was sworn in the next day. He served as secretary of Commerce for the entire Trump presidency.