Today Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence as 39th Secretary of Commerce. Secretary Ross will be the principal voice of business in the Trump Administration, ensuring U.S. entrepreneurs and businesses have the tools they need to create jobs and economic opportunity.
“President Trump used to say on the campaign trail that he had a three-part agenda for the American economy: Jobs, jobs, and jobs,” said Vice President Pence. “With Wilbur Ross as our new Secretary of Commerce, the President and I are confident that the Department of Commerce is going to take its right and leading role in fostering the growth that will create good-paying jobs for every American.”
Secretary Ross will work with businesses, universities, communities, and the Nation’s workers to promote job creation, economic growth, sustainable development, and improved standards of living. He succeeds Secretary Penny Pritzker, who served in the position under President Obama.
“I’m very gratified at the confidence that the President and the Vice President has shown in me and in the Department, and I promise I will live up to every word of my oath,” said Secretary Ross. “I was also very gratified by last night’s vote being 72 to 27, because that suggests that perhaps finally building America up again may become a bipartisan thing rather than contentious. I hope that spirit will carry over as people respond to the State of the Union message tonight.”
Secretary Ross is the former Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of WL Ross & Co. LLC and has over 55 years of investment banking and private equity experience. Mr. Ross has restructured over $400 billion of assets in the airline, apparel, auto parts, banking, beverage, chemical, credit card, electric utility, food service, furniture, gypsum, home-building, insurance, marine transport, mortgage origination and servicing, oil and gas, rail car manufacturing and leasing, real estate, restaurants, shipyards, steel, textiles, and trucking industries. He has been chairman or lead director of more than 100 companies operating in more than 20 different countries.
Named by Bloomberg Markets as one of the 50 most influential people in global finance, Mr. Ross is the only person elected to both the Private Equity Hall of Fame and the Turnaround Management Hall of Fame. He previously served as privatization advisor to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund.
President Kim Dae-jung awarded Mr. Ross a medal for helping South Korea during its financial crisis and, in November 2014, the Emperor of Japan awarded him The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.
As a philanthropist, Secretary Ross recently served as Chairman of the Japan Society, Trustee of the Brookings Institution and Chairman of its Economic Studies Council, the International Board of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Blenheim Foundation, the Magritte Museum in Brussels, and the Palm Beach Civic Association. He was also an Advisory Board Member of Yale University School of Management.
Secretary Ross is a graduate of Yale University and of Harvard Business School (with distinction). He and his wife Hilary Geary Ross have four children, Jessica Ross, Amanda Ross, Ted Geary, and Jack Geary.