WL Ross to Lose Top Executive as Storper to Leave Firm

W. L. Ross & Co. LLC. Chairman and CEO Wilbur L. Ross Jr.
Wilbur L. Ross Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of W. L. Ross & Co. LLC. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Billionaire Wilbur Ross Jr. is losing one of his top executives as David Storper, a senior managing director and a member of the investment committee of WL Ross & Co., decided to depart in October.

Storper, 46, has been at WL Ross since the New York-based firm was started 12 years ago. He was in charge of recruiting young people and about a month ago was given responsibility for leading strategy for the firm, Ross said yesterday in an interview. Stephen J. Toy, 39, a managing director, will take over recruiting and vice chairman James Lockhart III will lead strategy.

“It’s a friendly separation,” Ross said by phone. “We wish him well in whatever he decides to do in October.”

Ross is trying to raise his next turnaround fund, which has struggled to gain traction. The firm, founded by the 74 year-old Ross, last year cut its fundraising target in half from $4 billion and was granted more time from investors to gather money.

Ross, who started his own company in 2000 and sold it to Invesco Ltd. in 2006, made his name in turnarounds of steel and coal companies and more recently has been buying financial companies.

Storper’s relationship with Ross dates back to before the start of WL Ross & Co. in 2000. He worked with Ross in the late 1990s as a managing director in the restructuring group at Rothschild Inc. Both Toy and managing director Wendy Teramoto also worked in the group at that time. Ross led the bankruptcy advisory practice at Rothschild from 1976 to about 2000.

Storper ran WL Ross’s hedge fund until he gave up those responsibilities a few years ago. He will still be a limited partner in the firm’s funds, Ross said.

Storper didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment.

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