In Leaders Forum Talk, Wilbur Ross Details His Thinking on the Risk-Reward Tradeoff
Wilbur Ross YC '59, CEO and chairman of WL Ross & Co., used to keep a pillow in his office that read: "I'd much rather back a mediocre idea that's well-executed than a brilliant idea that's poorly executed." Ross, who spoke at Yale SOM on April 10 as part of the Leaders Forum lecture series, stressed to the audience that the idea of high risk/high reward was a gambler's creed. "The less risk you take," he said, "the more reward you're likely to reap."
Ross spent much of his career as a bankruptcy advisor; since 2000, he has led WL Ross & Co., a private equity company specializing in distressed and bankrupt companies. During his talk, he detailed his purchase of stakes in two distressed European banks: Northern Rock Savings and the Bank of Ireland. He also spoke about moves his firm has made into shipping. "A lot of people are willing to put money into shipping," he said. "The tricky part is to combine money with good management."