Hugh P. Lowenstein, founder of a Bermuda-based investment firm and a director of Bloomberg LP, parent company of Bloomberg News, for more than 15 years, has died. He was 82.
He died yesterday at his home in Lake Wales, Florida, after a long illness, his wife, Sandy, said yesterday in an interview. The family also has residences in Manhattan and Linville, North Carolina.
Lowenstein was a longtime friend of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, and was formerly his neighbor in Bermuda.
In his 1997 memoir, “Bloomberg by Bloomberg,” written with Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg News editor-in-chief, the future mayor called Lowenstein a friend from his “play hard/work hard” days in the 1960s and 1970s, when he “traveled with a big expense account” at what was then Salomon Brothers & Hutzler on Wall Street.
With bachelor friends such as Lowenstein, “I set new records in ‘burning the candle at both ends,’” Bloomberg wrote. “There was never enough time in the day to do it all -- but I always did.”
Lowenstein at the time was a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, his wife said. A mutual acquaintance, John Gutfreund, then a partner at Salomon and the firm’s future chairman and chief executive officer, introduced Lowenstein, recently divorced from his first wife, and Bloomberg, who was then single and an up-and-comer at Salomon. They became “best, best, best, best friends,” Sandy said.
As a managing director of investment firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in the 1990s, Lowenstein worked with Peter Grauer, who was a senior managing director. Grauer joined Michael Bloomberg and attorney Richard DeScherer on the board of Bloomberg LP in 1996, and soon after, Bloomberg personally brought in Lowenstein as a fourth member.
Lowenstein combined “years and years of experience on Wall Street with a laser-sharp mind, a mind that thought about things differently than conventional thinking would,” Grauer said yesterday in an interview.
The board was further expanded in 2001, when Bloomberg stepped down to prepare his first run for mayor. Without Lowenstein, the current board consists of nine members, including Grauer, who is company chairman; DeScherer, the chief legal and compliance officer; Winkler; and Daniel Doctoroff, president and CEO.
Lowenstein was on the board’s executive and management committees for the past 12 years and “was an adviser who could be counted on for his independence and contributions,” Grauer said in a statement.
Sandy Lowenstein said Michael Bloomberg used to describe her husband as a Detective Columbo-like figure on the board, someone who would “sit in meetings and not say much, and as everyone got up to leave he’d say, ‘I have a question,’ and it would be the question nobody wanted to address.”
Hugh Price Lowenstein was born on Nov. 11, 1930, in Manhattan, one of three sons of Melvin G. Lowenstein and the former Katherine Price Goldsmith. His family owned textile mills in North Carolina that were bought by apparel maker Burlington Industries Inc., his wife said.
He graduated from the Salisbury School in Salisbury, Connecticut, and attended North Carolina State University in Raleigh,North Carolina. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and saw combat on the front lines, according to his wife.
He began his career in 1954 at Burlington Industries Inc., where he was assistant to the chairman.
In 1968, he moved to Wall Street, where he got ribbed about his prior work.
“At Burlington they were famous for socks,” Sandy Lowenstein said. “So everyone on Wall Street teased him that he went from socks to stocks.”
He was a partner and managing director at investment-banking firm L.F. Rothschild, Unterberg, Towbin from 1977 to 1987, and managing director at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette from 1987 to 1994.
As founder of Shore Capital Ltd. in Bermuda, which he managed from 1994 to 2001, he served as a consultant and investment adviser primarily to clients in Bermuda. From 2000 to 2005 he was chairman of Cheyne Capital International Ltd., a London-based hedge-fund manager.
His community work included serving on the board of the Bermuda Biological Station for Research, now the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, a research and education organization.
With his first wife, the former Jane Wray, he had two children, Michael and Margaret, who is known as Maggie. That marriage ended in divorce. He had a stepdaughter, Lauren de Lavalette, through his 36-year marriage to the former Sandy Wilson.
Additional survivors include brothers Peter Lowenstein and James Lowenstein, who was U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg under President Jimmy Carter, and seven grandchildren.