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David M. Rubenstein

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David M. Rubenstein

For the founding Executive Director for the Save Darfur Coalition, see David Rubenstein (activist).
David M. Rubenstein
World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, 2009
Born 11 August 1949[1]
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Nationality United States
Ethnicity Jewish
Alma mater Duke University
University of Chicago (J.D.)
Occupation Managing Director of the Carlyle Group
Net worth Increase$3.0 billion (March 2013)[2]
Spouse(s) Alice Nicole Rogoff
Children 3

David Mark Rubenstein (born August 11, 1949) is an American financier and philanthropist best known as co-founder of The Carlyle Group, a global private equity investment firm. According to the 2013 Forbes ranking of the wealthiest Americans, Rubenstein has net worth of $3.0 billion since the sub-prime crisis recovery.[2]

Early life and career

Rubenstein grew up an only child in a Jewish family in an exclusively Jewish neighborhood in Baltimore.[3][4] He graduated from the college preparatory high school Baltimore City College, and then from Duke University magna cum laude in 1970. He earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1973, where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review. From 1973 to 1975, Rubenstein practiced law in New York with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Prior to starting Carlyle in 1987, with William E. Conway, Jr. and Daniel A. D'Aniello, Rubenstein was a domestic policy advisor to President Jimmy Carter and worked in private practice in Washington, D.C.

Although in 2006 private equity activity was booming and larger companies than ever before were bought out, insiders feared the day that it would abruptly end. On two different occasions David Rubenstein expressed this fear. In January 2006, he stated: “This has been a golden age for our industry, but nothing continues to be golden forever".[5] One month later, he emphasized this concern more explicitly: "Right now we're operating as if the music's not going to stop playing and the music is going to stop. I am more concerned about this than any other issue" ,[6] These concerns proved to be right as at the end of 2007 the buyout market collapsed. This collapse can largely be attributed to the credit crunch, which significantly increased the cost of borrowing. As leveraged loan activity came to an abrupt stop, private equity firms were unable to secure financing for their transactions. As the consequences of the credit crunch unveiled themselves, many previously announced buyouts were cancelled.

In May 2008 David Rubenstein stated: “But once this period is over, once the debt on the books of the banks is sold and new lending starts, I think you'll see the private equity industry coming back in what I call the Platinum Age - better than it's ever been before. I do think that the private equity industry has a great future and that the greatest period for private equity is probably ahead of us.”[7]

Personal life

David Rubenstein's father was a post office worker earning $7000 annually and his mother a house wife. In a speaking engagement at the University of Maryland, he revealed that his mother wanted him to grow up and become a dentist. Rubenstein has stated that he was once offered to meet Mark Zuckerberg before he dropped out of Harvard but decided against it. This is his single greatest investment regret.[8]

He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, and is married to Alice Rubenstein (née Alice Nicole Rogoff), founder of the Alaska House New York and the Alaska Native Arts Foundation, although Mrs. Rubenstein is not a Native American. They were married on May 21, 1983.[9] They have three children together and spend summers on Nantucket.[10]


Rubenstein is among the group of American billionaires who have pledged to donate more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes or charities as part of The Giving Pledge.

He has made large gifts to Duke University, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Chicago Law School.

He was elected to the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago on May 31, 2007.[11]

On December 18, 2007, David Rubenstein purchased the last privately owned copy of the Magna Carta at Sotheby's auction house in New York for $21.3 million.[12] He has lent it to the National Archives in Washington D.C.[13] In 2011, Rubenstein gave $13.5 million to the National Archives for a new gallery and visitor's center.[14]

Rubenstein was elected as the next Chairman of the Board of the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC, starting in May 2010. He is Vice Chairman of the Board of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, and chairman of its fundraising drive. A new atrium was named for him.[15] He is on the board of regents of the Smithsonian Institution.[16]

In December 2011, Rubenstein donated $4.5 million to the National Zoo for its giant panda reproduction program.[17] The panda complex was then named the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat for the next five years and conservation biologists in the U.S. and China who are awarded National Zoo fellowships for their work to save pandas would be named “David M. Rubenstein Fellows."[18]

In 2012, he donated $7.5 million towards the repair of the Washington Monument.[19][20]

In 2013 he donated $50 million to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which is being used for 65,000 square foot addition.[21]

In April 2013 he donated $10 million to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation which will be used to rebuild at least two buildings in the slave community on Mulberry Row at Monticello. The funds will also be used to restore Jefferson's original road scheme, restore the second and third stories of Jefferson's home which are currently mostly empty, and replace infrastructure.[22]

Duke University

Rubenstein has made several gifts to Duke University. He donated $5 million to Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy in 2002, after which Rubenstein Hall was named for him. In 2009, he donated and additional $5.75 million to the school.[23] In 2011, he also donated $13.6 million to the Duke University Libraries in support of renovating the university's special collections library, which was named the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.[10] In 2012, he donated $15 million to support the university's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative.[24] That same year, he gave another $10 million to support Duke Athletics.[25] In 2013, Rubenstein donated $10 million to fund graduate fellowships and undergraduate internships Sanford.[26] Rubenstein currently serves as Vice Chair, on the university's Board of Trustees.[24]


"The only game in Washington is the Fed." -speaking at the Aspen Institute in 2013David M. Rubenstein, Robert Rubin, and David Leonhardt at Aspen Institute.

  • "When history is written and people talk about the great protests, I don't think that this will be in that category."[27]—Comparing what in his view were the great civil disobedience efforts of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King to the protests by the Working Families Party concerning the tax treatment of private equity firms.
  • “I analogize [private equity] to sex...You realize there were certain things you shouldn’t do, but the urge is there and you can’t resist.”[28]—speaking at Harvard Business School about the buyout bubble.
  • "I think it's important to tell people the good and the bad of American history, not only the things that we might like to hear."[22]—Speaking about wanting to put a face on slavery with his donation to rebuild slave quarters at Monticello.


External links

  • Carlyle biography of David Rubenstein
  • U Chicago Chronicle article
  • David Rubenstein Biography at the Wharton China Business Forum where Rubenstein was the opening keynote speaker for the 2010 event
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