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WL Ross: hope rising from the ashes

Wilbur Ross

"We are not so much a vulture as a phoenix," says Wilbur Ross, chairman of WL Ross& Co. "We are not liquidators, we are rehabilitators. There are a number of people who do what we do who are pure vultures. But we are interested in the ongoing business."

Ross is one of the best-known people in the US in the world of bankruptcy and restructuring - Fortune magazine once dubbed him Wall Street's "King of Bankruptcy" - but he is relatively new to distressed-debt investment.

He and his five-strong team set up WL Ross&Co in April 2000, having bought out the distressed-investing business of Rothschild Inc. Ross was previously the head of the bankruptcy practice at Rothschild, where he had worked since 1976.

In those 24 years he assisted in the restructuring of some $200 billion of liabilities - with a hand in several of the biggest bankruptcies and restructurings in US history, including Texaco, Trans World Airlines, Drexel Burnham Lambert and Trump Plaza.

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