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William 'Bill' Ackman by Anthony jenkins (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail/Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)
William 'Bill' Ackman by Anthony jenkins (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail/Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)

the lunch

Bill Ackman: 'A stake in the ground' Add to ...

“They were doing everything they could to run me off the road … I believe they had wronged me. I believed that my fundamental right as an American was free speech and I felt that it was good for America that these guys would be discovered and people understood the systemic risk they were creating.”

On tearing up during speech after losing the Target proxy battle in 2009

“I think I was physically exhausted. I wrote this little speech on my own, I got caught up in it, a little tear, whatever. It hadn’t happened to me before. I didn’t draw a tear on losing the Target proxy contest. It was a tear relating to the other emotional experience at MBIA.




Born May 11, 1966, raised Chappaqua, N.Y.

BA Harvard College, 1988.

MBA, Harvard Business School, 1992.


Paid for expenses at Harvard selling ads for student travel guides.

1992 Founded Gotham Partners hedge fund with David Berkowitz.

2003 Founded Pershing Square Capital Management, which today employs 45 people to manage $11.5-billion(U.S.) of assets.


His father Lawrence Ackman works in the office next to him and the two co-invest in real estate properties.

He and his wife Karen have three daughters.

They have a co-op overlooking Central Park, a beach home on Long Island and house in upstate New York.


Tennis, fly fishing and cycling.

Investment Strategy

Pershing Square is a niche investor that buys minority stakes in underperforming major companies. It prefers to work with boards. It has lost one of three proxy contests.

Investment homeruns. MBIA Inc., General Growth Properties, Fortune Brands.

Investment strikeouts: Target Corp. and Borders Group.

Jacquie McNish

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