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Illustration of Daniel Doctoroff, chief executive officer, Bloomberg LP (Anthony Jenkins/www.jenkinsdraws.com)
Illustration of Daniel Doctoroff, chief executive officer, Bloomberg LP (Anthony Jenkins/www.jenkinsdraws.com)

THE LUNCH

Meet Bloomberg's data-driven Daniel Doctoroff Add to ...

(His brother Andrew recently became a senior adviser on transportation for the Michigan state government. His task: to make sure the new bridge between Detroit and Windsor gets done.)

Mr. Doctoroff left the Detroit area to go to Harvard and later law school at the University of Chicago. He only moved to New York because his wife Alisa had a job here. He started out as an investment banker and later joined a private-equity firm founded by Texas billionaire Robert Bass, a job that made him a multimillionaire.

“There are people whose impatience gets in their way. Dan is not that at all,” said Steven Gruber, a managing partner at Oak Hill Capital Partners who has known Mr. Doctoroff for decades. “He is impatient to accomplish things. He’s just wired that way.”

Back at Brasserie, the crowd has thinned out. It’s time to start the rest of the day, where, according to pattern, roughly 12 meetings should await Mr. Doctoroff. He dons an athletic windbreaker over his suit and heads north to the office.

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CURRICULUM VITAE

Beginnings

Born in 1958 in Newark, N.J.

Grew up in Birmingham, Mich.

Attended Harvard College and the University of Chicago Law School

Family Life

Married to Alisa Doctoroff; three children, 25, 22, 21

Lives on New York’s Upper West Side

Philanthropic Causes

Funds research to combat Lou Gehrig’s disease; sits on the boards of World Resources Institute, Human Rights First and Culture Shed

Career

1984 – 1987: Investment banker, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

1987 – 2001: Partner and managing partner, Oak Hill Capital Partners

1994: Began 11-year effort to bring the Olympic Games to New York

2002 – 2008: Deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding, New York

2008 – 2011: President, Bloomberg LP

2011 – present: chief executive officer, Bloomberg LP

Hobbies

New York history, cycling, golf

In His Own Words

On Detroit’s bankruptcy: It’s clearly sad. What it’s not is a surprise … I’m actually an optimist. I believe that Detroit has a terrific geographic position. It still is a hub of one of the most important industries in the world. There’s incredible engineering and other talent. Even though the city has been depopulated, that actually creates an asset, which is land – which can be used to attract people to the city. You’re going to look back 2, 5, 10 years from now and see that this was actually the turning point in Detroit’s future. Look, I’m a contrarian investor. This is a time to buy Detroit. Some smart people have been doing it already.

On his career path: I believe we’re all endowed with a very small set of narrow skills that make us unique. You’ve got to find what that is. Most often what you truly understand makes you unique is something that you’re also going to build passion around. For me – and I didn’t really discover this until I was in my 40s, the line that connected the dots … [is] seeing patterns in numbers that enable me to tell a compelling story which helps to solve a problem. So whether it is helping a candidate get elected or doing a road show for a company, getting a project done in New York or hopefully setting a vision for a company, it’s that narrow skill.

On Bloomberg’s corporate culture: Over all, the culture that Mike [Bloomberg] created – and the DNA of our company is his DNA – is our strongest asset. Times do change and occasionally you have to modify things, but the basic elements of the culture – the focus on transparency, the lack of hierarchy, the ease of communication, the what I’d call constructive paranoia – are all elements that really need to be cherished. And that’s a big part of my job, to maintain the core elements of the culture and yet adapt them modestly to make sure that they’re still appropriate for the times and new markets that we are entering. But the core I don’t ever want to change.

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