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Who is William Ackman

William Ackman

Who is William Ackman – Founder, CEO, Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P.

William Albert Ackman (born May 11, 1966) is an American billionaire hedge fund manager who is the founder and chief executive officer of Pershing Square Capital Management, a hedge fund management company.

“Short-term economic and market forecasting is largely a fool’s errand: we invest according to a strategy that makes the need to rely on short-term economic or market assessments largely irrelevant.” – Bill Ackman

Bill Ackman’s biography:

  • Bill Ackman founded and runs Pershing Square Capital Management.
  • Ackman created Pershing Square in 2004 and rose to fame for his short of bond insurer MBIA and his rescue of mall operator General Growth.
  • Coming out of the crisis, he at times topped Wall Street with activist wins on Canadian Pacific, Fortune Brands and Allergan.
  • He hit hard times after trying to merge Allergan and Valeant in 2014. He made over $1 billion on the former, but lost $3 billion on the latter.
  • Ackman made a $2.6 billion profit on just a $27 million investment in credit hedges in March 2020 when the spread of Covid-19 tanked markets.

The story of Bill Ackman is not the story of a man moving from middle class to bonanza, it is rather the story of the heir building his own legacy. William Albert Ackman was born on May 11, 1966, the son of a mortgage financier and a top New York executive.

From an affluent and uncomplicated childhood, he graduated from Harvard University in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in history and then went on to graduate school in business administration at Harvard Business School.

After some time in real estate, working with his father, he decided to create his first hedge fund in 1992, together with Joel Greenblatt. Although he did not do badly with this fund, he decided to close it in 2002. Two years later, Ackman opened Pershing Square Capital Management L.P., with an initial capital of $54 million.

Ackman has said that his most successful investments have always been controversial, and that his first rule of activist investing is to “make a bold call that nobody believes in”.

Ackman married Karen Ann Herskovitz, a landscape architect, on July 10, 1994. They have three children. On December 22, 2016, it was reported that the couple had separated.

In 2018, Ackman became engaged to Neri Oxman. In January 2019, Oxman and Ackman married at the Central Synagogue in Manhattan, and they had their first child together in spring 2019. In August 2019, Ackman wrote to MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito to discourage him from mentioning Oxman when discussing convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who had donated $125,000 to Oxman’s lab.

Ackman is a keen amateur tennis player and controversially commented that he could play a close and even doubles match against John McEnroe when interviewed by David Rubenstein in 2020.

Ackman owned a Gulfstream G550 business jet, as of 2017.

Personal Stats:

 Source of Wealth – Hedge funds, Self Made

Residence – New York, New York

Citizenship – United States

Marital Status – Married

Children – 3

Education – Master of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; Bachelor of Arts/Science, Harvard University