Theodore Forstmann: The Last Great American Financier

American financiers are unloved these days, but with the death of Theodore Forstmann on Sunday, November 20, 2011 at the young age of 71 much is to be remembered.

Theodore Forstmann made his financial mark in the early 1980’s as a pioneer of the leverage buyout (LBO).  It was his insight that American corporate management had grown completely distant from the interests of its shareholders that motivated him to create borrowing (financing) instruments to turn around undervalued and underperforming companies.

For Forstmann, complacency must be confronted.

At the funeral his family gave engraved silver trays with the following quote:

“The entrepreneur, as a creator of the new and a destroyer of the old, is constantly in conflict with convention.  He inhabits a world where belief precedes results, and where the best possibilities are usually invisible to others.  His world is dominated by denial, rejection, difficulty and doubt.  And although as an innovator, he is unceasingly imitated when successful, he always remains an outsider to the establishment.”

Rest in Peace:  Theodore Forstmann.

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About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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