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James S. McDonald, C.E.O. of Rockefeller & Co., Dies at 56
By KATE GALBRAITHSEPT. 15, 2009
James S. McDonald, the president and chief executive of Rockefeller & Company, a wealth management firm, died on Sunday in Massachusetts. He was 56.
Mr. McDonald died in a car of a single gunshot wound in Dartmouth, Mass., said Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for the Bristol County district attorney. “It’s still an open investigation, but it is an apparent suicide,” he said.
Rockefeller & Company is descended from an office established in 1882 by John D. Rockefeller to manage his family’s money. The company managed $25 billion in assets at the end of last year, according to its Web site.
Mr. McDonald, who lived in Manhattan, was also a member of the board of NYSE-Euronext and was chairman of its audit committee. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and served on the board of the CIT Group, a commercial lender to small and medium-size businesses. CIT Group has teetered on the verge of collapse despite receiving federal bailout money. Mr. McDonald stepped down along with two other directors in May.
Colin Campbell, the chairman of Rockefeller & Company, said in a statement of condolence that Mr. McDonald had “provided strong leadership” at the firm for more than eight years. Austin V. Shapard, its chief operating and financial officer, “has assumed day-to-day leadership of the company” on an interim basis, the company said.
Before joining Rockefeller & Company, Mr. McDonald was president and chief executive of Pell, Rudman & Company, a wealth management company in Boston. He graduated from Harvard College and the University of Virginia School of Law.
Mr. McDonald is survived by his wife and three children.
Correction: September 21, 2009
Because of an editing error, an obituary on Wednesday about James S. McDonald, the chief executive of Rockefeller & Company, a wealth-management firm, referred incorrectly to Harvard College, suggesting it had changed its name since he graduated from it. Its name then was the same as it is now; he did not graduate “from what was the Harvard College.”
A version of this article appears in print on , on Page B17 of the National edition with the headline: James McDonald, Fund Chief, 56. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe
Rockefeller & Co., dead in apparent suicide at 56
Sep 15th 2009 10:40AM
Updated Dec 4th 2009 3:25PM
James S. McDonald, the CEO of money-management firm Rockefeller & Co., died Sunday from an apparently self-inflicted wound. McDonald, who also sat on the board of the NYSE Euronext, the giant stock exchange, was 56 years old. In a statement obtained by the Wall Street Journal Monday night, Barclay McFadden III, who called himself a friend of McDonald's family, said McDonald "took his own life," and said the family would have no further comment.
McDonald's apparent suicide came less than one week after Finn M. W. Casperson, the former chairman and CEO of Beneficial Corp. and another prominent financial figure, was found dead from a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head near his own home in Westerly, Rhode Island.
The circumstances surrounding McDonald's passing were still unclear Tuesday morning, though he is believed to have taken his own life in New Bedford, Mass. Reached by DailyFinance, a detective with the New Bedford police department was unable to provide further details.
Colin Campbell, Chairman of Rockefeller & Co., which began as the "family office" of legendary industrialist John D. Rockefeller, issued a statement saying, "Jim McDonald was an exceptional individual who provided strong leadership of Rockefeller & Co. for over eight years. He will be missed by all of us privileged to have known and worked with him."
McDonald had been CEO of the New York-based Rockefeller & Co., which was originally founded in 1882 to manage the assets of Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller and his family, since 2001. Today, the firm has some $28 billion under management for clients that include foundations, endowments, and private investors. Rockefeller & Co. doesn't disclose the performance of its investment portfolio.
McDonald graduated from Harvard University and earned a law degree from University of Virginia. Prior to joining Rockefeller & Co., he ran Pell, Rudman Trust Co. in Boston. McDonald was also chairman of the Japan Society in New York.
Richard Adamonis, a spokesman for NYSE Euronext where Mr. McDonald had served on the board of directors since 2003, issued the following statement: "The NYSE Euronext community mourns the loss and offers our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Jim McDonald, an outstanding and accomplished individual who served our capital markets and NYSE Euronext with great commitment and integrity."