Charles Wang: Wikis

  
  
  

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wang (王).

Charles B. Wang (Chinese: 王嘉廉pinyin: Wáng Jiālián) (born August 19, 1944) is the co-founder of Computer Associates International, Inc. (later renamed CA, Inc.) and owner of the New York Islanders ice hockey team.

In 1976, Wang launched Computer Associates at the age of 31, using credit cards for funding. He has since authored two books to help executives master technology: Techno Vision (1994, McGraw-Hill) and Techno Vision II (1997, McGraw-Hill). Wang retired from Computer Associates in 2002.

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Early life

He was born in Shanghai, and moved to Queens, NY, when he was eight years old. He attended the elite Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Queens College in New York, and began working at Columbia University.

New York Islanders

He is currently the majority owner of the New York Islanders hockey franchise, of which he had become a part-owner in 2000. He later bought out the share of business partner Sanjay Kumar in 2004, and acquired the New York Dragons Arena football franchise. He is the master developer of the Lighthouse, a property transformation of the Nassau Coliseum and surrounding 150 acres (0.61 km2). The project will include a five-star hotel; condominiums; an athletic complex featuring four ice rinks, a basketball facility, and a state-of-the-art health club that will serve as the Islanders’ practice facility and also be open to the public. The development will also include a sports technology center, open-air plaza, and conference center.

Plainview Properties

He is also founder of Plainview Properties, a real estate firm which recently announced a major development in Plainview, New York: Old Plainview - a traditional village combining townhouses, apartments, offices, restaurants, a Hyatt hotel and recreation space using “smart growth” concepts. Residents of Plainview, headed by the group Concerned Citizens of Plainview-Old Bethpage, have resisted the project from the start.

Philanthropy

Wang is also well known for his philanthropic works with such causes as the Make a Wish Foundation, and Smile Train among others. His donation of over $50 million dollars to the State University of New York at Stony Brook for the construction of the Charles B. Wang Center was the largest in history to a SUNY school.

Wang funded the expansion of the Chinatown Health Clinic and the clinic has been renamed the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center.

In 1999, Wang and his brothers Anthony and Francis donated a new law school to China's Suzhou University in honor of their father Kenneth Wang and in celebration of the university's 100th anniversary.[1]

Controversy

Wang's career as CEO of Computer Associates was marked with controversy.

In building up CA, Wang engaged in fifty takeovers followed by immediate firing of top management and key employees. His strategies had provoked descriptions like "rapacious", "heartless" and "Attila-the-Hun", largely driven by the draconian practices he engaged in with acquired companies, although these tactics were legal in the State of New York. The most notorious of these practices included forcing the employees of an acquired company to sign new employment contracts on-the-spot at a company meeting without prior warning - employees who refused to sign at the meeting or wished to have the contracts reviewed by a third party prior to signing were immediately fired.

He also alienated many in and out of CA by his paternalistic, family-oriented management style. In 1979, three years after CA's founding, Wang had installed his older brother Tony, a onetime corporate lawyer, as president and COO. Tony held the position until his retirement in 1992 to make way for Sanjay Kumar. In 1998, Nancy Li, Charles Wang's second wife, was named CA's chief technology officer. Wang has argued that the investment community was punishing CA's stock because of his refusal to override his sense of familial loyalty to avoid the appearance of nepotism.

In 1998, Wang had initiated a $9 billion hostile tender offer for the shares of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). The Washington Post weighed in on the side of CSC's management by alluding to CA's "ties to foreigners". It was a pointed reference to Wang's origin and CA's clients in China. The suggestion was that becoming linked with CA would jeopardize CSC's contracts with U.S. government agencies. Wang dropped the tender offer, blaming the uproar on racism and inflated national security concerns.

In 2000, a class-action lawsuit accused Wang, then president Sanjay Kumar and co-founder Russell Artzt of wrongly reporting more than $500 million in revenue in its 1998 and 1999 fiscal years, in order to artificially inflate the stock price. A previous stock option set in 1995 specified that a certain number of shares would vest when Computer Associates' shares sustained a target price. The benchmark was met in 1998, and the three executives combined received nearly $1 billion in Computer Associates stock with Wang himself netting $670 million; he had already been the highest paid CEO in the US for the past four years. Since then, at least four other class-action suits have been filed against Computer Associates, all of which have named Wang specifically. As the controversy continued to dog Wang even after he returned a portion of the stock award, he quit as CEO in 2000, and later resigned as Chairman of the Board in 2002.

His successor Sanjay Kumar resigned as chairman and chief executive in April 2004, following an investigation into the accounting scandal which improperly reported revenue. A federal grand jury in Brooklyn indicted Kumar on fraud charges on September 22, 2004. [2] Kumar pled guilty to obstruction of justice and securities fraud charges on April 24, 2006. [3]

New York Islanders

Wang has received praise for his willingness to spend money with the goal of making the Islanders competitive; previous ownership groups had not. He also has a reputation for making decisions that go against conventional wisdom. Occasionally these unorthodox decisions, such as hiring Ted Nolan as coach, receive praise. Others inspire criticism that Wang is being contrarian for its own sake and not following logic or reason.[4]

After hiring Neil Smith as the general manager for the New York Islanders during the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, Wang fired him 40 days later and gave the job to Garth Snow, who retired from his position as the team's backup goalie to take the job. Wang said that "philosophical differences" were the basis for firing Smith. This series of personnel moves inspired a critical and incredulous reaction from hockey journalists.

On September 12, 2006, Wang and GM Snow signed goaltender Rick DiPietro to a 15-year, $67.5 million contract. The length of the deal, as well as Wang's signing of Alexei Yashin to a 10-year contract a few years before, have added to controversy.

A Forbes article investigated why certain NHL franchises could remain profitable despite poor attendance and overall league unprofitability. They found that several league owners underreported their cable broadcast revenue; they specifically accused Wang of excluding half of the $17 million paid to the Islanders for the 2003 cable broadcast season.

Wang has threatened to move the Islanders if the redevelopment plan for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (titled the "Lighthouse Project") is not approved by Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead.[1]

Wang has stated that he regrets buying the team and would not do so if he could choose again.[2]

Awards and honors

And on May 3, 2009, Wang will be honored by the Los Angeles Chinese Historical Society of Southern California in "Celebrating Chinese Americans in Sports".[3]

Long Island residency

Wang's home is a mansion formerly belonging to Theodore Roosevelt, near Oyster Bay on Long Island's North Shore.[4]

References

External links

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