|Michael Bloomberg was affiliated with Salomon Brothers before launching his own firm Bloomberg News and later becoming mayor.|
Michael Rubens Bloomberg (born February 14, 1942) is an American business magnate, politician and philanthropist. He is the 108th and current Mayor of New York City, having served three consecutive terms since his first election in 2002. With a net worth of $27 billion, he is also the 7th-richest person in the United States. He is the founder and 88% owner of Bloomberg L.P., the global financial data and media company most famous for its Bloomberg Terminal.
Bloomberg began his career at the securities brokerage Salomon Brothers before forming his company in 1981 and spending the next twenty years as its Chairman and CEO. He also served as chairman of the board of trustees at his alma mater Johns Hopkins University from 1996 to 2002. A Democrat before seeking elective office, Bloomberg switched his party registration in 2001 to run for mayor as a Republican. He defeated opponent Mark Green in close election held just weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Bloomberg won a second term in 2005 and left the Republican Party two years later. He campaigned to change the city’s term limits law in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and was elected to his third term in 2009 as an independent candidate on the Republican ballot line.
He was frequently mentioned as a possible independent candidate for the U.S. presidential elections in 2008 and 2012. However, he chose not to seek the presidency and instead decided to focus on serving his final years as Mayor of New York.
Michael Bloomberg was born at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, on February 14, 1942. His family is Jewish. His father, William Henry Bloomberg (1906–1963), was a real estate agent and the son of Alexander “Elick” Bloomberg, an immigrant. His mother, Charlotte Rubens Bloomberg (January 2, 1909 – June 19, 2011), was a native of New Jersey. His maternal grandfather was an immigrant from Russia.
The family lived in Allston, Massachusetts, until Bloomberg was two years old. They moved to Brookline, Massachusetts, for the next two years, finally settling in Medford, a Boston suburb, where he lived until after he graduated from college. Bloomberg is also an Eagle Scout.
Bloomberg attended Johns Hopkins University, where he joined Phi Kappa Psi. He graduated in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. In 1966 he received his Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
In 1973, Bloomberg became a general partner at Salomon Brothers, a bulge-bracket Wall Street investment bank, where he headed equity trading and, later, systems development. In 1981, Salomon Brothers was bought and Bloomberg was laid off from the investment bank and given a $10 million severance package. Using this money, Bloomberg went on to set up a company named Innovative Market Systems. His business plan was based on the realization that Wall Street (and the financial community generally) was willing to pay for high quality business information, delivered as quickly as possible and in as many usable forms possible, via technology (e.g., graphs of highly specific trends). In 1982, Merrill Lynch became the new company’s first customer, installing 22 of the company’s Market Master terminals and investing $30 million in the company. The company was renamed Bloomberg L.P. in 1987. By 1990, it had installed 8,000 terminals. Over the years, ancillary products including Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Message, and Bloomberg Tradebook were launched.
As of 2012, the company had more than 310,000 terminals worldwide. His company also has a radio network which currently has its flagship station as 1130 WBBR AM in New York City. He left the position of CEO to pursue a political career as the mayor of New York City. Bloomberg was replaced as CEO by Lex Fenwick. The company is now led by president Daniel L. Doctoroff, a former deputy mayor under Bloomberg.
As the mayor of New York City, Bloomberg, in efforts to create “cutbacks” in the New York City Spending Bracket, gracefully declines to receive a city salary, accepting remuneration of $1 annually for his services. He maintains a public listing in the New York City phone directory, residing not in Gracie Mansion – the official mayoral residence – but instead at his own home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, at 17 East 79th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues. He owns additional homes in London, Bermuda and Vail.
Bloomberg stated that he rides the New York City Subway on a daily basis, particularly in the commute from his 79th Street home to his office at City Hall. An August 2007 story in The New York Times asserted that he was often seen chauffeured by two New York Police Department-owned SUVs to an express train station to avoid having to change from the local to the express trains on the Lexington Avenue line.
Bloomberg wrote an autobiography, with help from Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief Matthew Winkler, called Bloomberg by Bloomberg.
In March 2013 Forbes reported Michael Bloomberg’s wealth as $27 billion and ranked him as the 13th richest person in the world. In March 2012, Forbes reported Bloomberg’s wealth at $22 billion, ranking him 20th in the world and 11th in the United States. In March 2009, Forbes reported Bloomberg’s wealth at $16 billion, a gain of $4.5 billion over the previous year, enjoying the world’s biggest increase in wealth in 2009. At that time, there were only four fortunes in the U.S. that were larger (although the Wal-Mart family fortune is split among four people). He moved from 142nd to 17th in the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires in only two years (March 2007 – March 2009).
In 2001, the incumbent mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, was ineligible for re-election, as the city limited the mayoralty to two consecutive terms. Several well-known New York City politicians aspired to succeed him. Bloomberg, a lifelong member of the Democratic Party, decided to run for mayor as a member of the Republican Party ticket.
Voting in the primary began on the morning of September 11, 2001. The primary was postponed later that day. In the rescheduled primary, Bloomberg defeated Herman Badillo, a former Congressman, to become the Republican nominee. Meanwhile, the Democratic primary did not produce a first-round winner. After a runoff, the Democratic nomination went to New York City Public Advocate Mark J. Green.
In the general election, Bloomberg received Giuliani’s endorsement. He also had a huge spending advantage. Although New York City’s campaign finance law restricts the amount of contributions which a candidate can accept, Bloomberg chose not to use public campaign funds and therefore his campaign was not subject to these restrictions. He spent $73 million of his own money on his campaign, outspending Green by five to one. One of the major themes of his campaign was that, with the city’s economy suffering from the effects of the World Trade Center attacks, it needed a mayor with business experience.
In addition to serving as the Republican nominee, Bloomberg had the ballot line of the controversial Independence Party, in which “Social Therapy” leaders Fred Newman and Lenora Fulani exert strong influence. Some say that endorsement was important, as Bloomberg’s votes on that line exceeded his margin of victory over Green. (Under New York‘s fusion rules, a candidate can run on more than one party’s line and combine all the votes received on all lines. Green, the Democrat, also had the ballot line of the Working Families Party. He also created an independent line called Students First whose votes were combined with those on the Independence line). Another factor was the vote in Staten Island, which has traditionally been far friendlier to Republicans than the rest of the city. Bloomberg handily beat Green in that borough, taking 75 percent of the vote there. Overall, Bloomberg won 50 percent to 48 percent.
Bloomberg’s election marked the first time in New York City history that two different Republicans had been elected mayor consecutively. New York City has not been won by a Republican in a presidential election since Calvin Coolidge won in 1924. Bloomberg is considered a social liberal, who is pro-choice, in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage and an advocate for stricter gun control laws.
Despite the fact that 68 percent of New York City’s registered voters are Democrats, Bloomberg decided the city should host the 2004 Republican National Convention. The Convention drew thousands of protesters, many of them local residents angry over the Iraq war and other issues. The Police Department arrested approximately 1,800 protesters, but according to The New York Times, more than 90 percent of the cases were later dismissed or dropped for lack of evidence.
Bloomberg was re-elected mayor in November 2005 by a margin of 20 percent, the widest margin ever for a Republican mayor of New York.
Bloomberg spent over $1 million on his campaign by late October 2005 and was projected to exceed the record of $74 million he spent on the previous election. In late 2004 or early 2005, Bloomberg gave the Independence Party of New York $250,000 to fund a phone bank seeking to recruit volunteers for his re-election campaign.
Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer won the Democratic nomination to oppose Bloomberg in the general election. Thomas Ognibene sought to run against Bloomberg in the Republican Party’s primary election. Bloomberg’s campaign successfully challenged enough of the signatures Ognibene had submitted to the Board of Elections to prevent Ognibene from appearing on ballots for the Republican primary. Instead, Ognibene ran only on the Conservative Party ticket. Ognibene accused Bloomberg of betraying Republican Party ideals, a feeling echoed by others.
Bloomberg opposed the confirmation of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States. Though a Republican at the time, Bloomberg is a staunch supporter of abortion rights and did not believe that Roberts was committed to maintaining Roe v. Wade.
In addition to receiving Republican support, Bloomberg obtained the endorsements of several prominent Democrats: former Democratic Mayor Ed Koch; former Democratic governor Hugh Carey; former Democratic City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, and his son, Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr.; former Democratic Congressman Floyd Flake (who had previously endorsed Bloomberg in 2001), and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
On October 2, 2008, Bloomberg announced that he would seek to extend the city’s term limits law and run for a third mayoral term in 2009, arguing that a leader of his field is needed during the Wall Street financial crisis. “Handling this financial crisis while strengthening essential services … is a challenge I want to take on” Bloomberg said at a news conference. “So should the City Council vote to amend term limits, I plan to ask New Yorkers to look at my record of independent leadership and then decide if I have earned another term.” On October 23, 2008, the City Council voted 29–22 in favor of extending the term limit to three consecutive four-year terms, thus allowing Bloomberg to run for office again. After two days of public hearings, Bloomberg signed the bill into law on November 3.
Bloomberg’s bid for a third term generated some controversy. Civil libertarians such as former New York Civil Liberties Union Director Norman Siegel and New York Civil Rights Coalition Executive Director Michael Meyers joined with local politicians such as New York State Senator Eric Adams to protest the term limits extension.
Bloomberg’s opponent was Democratic and Working Families Party nominee Bill Thompson, who had been New York City Comptroller for the past eight years and before that President of the New York City Board of Education. Bloomberg defeated Thompson by a vote of 50.6 percent to 46.0 percent.
After the release of Independence Party campaign filings in January 2010, it was reported that Bloomberg had made two $600,000 contributions from his personal account to the Independence Party on October 30 and November 2, 2009. The Independence Party then paid $750,000 of that money to Republican Party political operative John Haggerty Jr.
This prompted to an investigation beginning in February 2010 by the office of New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. into possible improprieties. The Independence Party later questioned how Haggerty spent the money, which was to go to poll-watchers. Former New York State Senator Martin Connor contended that because the Bloomberg donations were made to an Independence Party housekeeping account rather than to an account meant for current campaigns, this was a violation of campaign finance laws. Haggerty also spent money from a separate $200,000 donation from Bloomberg on office space.