Robert Day, Financier and Philanthropist, Dies at 79

Robert Day, the inheritor to an oil fortune who based what’s now generally known as the TCW Group, an enormous asset-management agency, and later grew to become an influential philanthropist, who donated to California medical, arts and scholarly establishments, died on Sept. 14 in Los Angeles. He was 79.

His demise was introduced by the W.M. Keck Basis, the philanthropic group of which he had been chairman since 1995. The announcement didn’t specify a trigger.

Born into wealth — his grandfather, William Myron Keck, amassed a fortune by way of his impartial oil firm, Superior Oil — Mr. Day constructed his personal empire within the Belief Firm of the West. That agency, which was ultimately renamed the TCW Group, grew to become a serious monetary steward for company pension funds, endowments and rich people.

By the point TCW agreed to promote itself to Société Générale, a big French financial institution, for greater than $1.3 billion in 2001, it oversaw some $80 billion in belongings. That deal compounded Mr. Day’s private wealth: Los Angeles Enterprise Journal final 12 months estimated his internet value at $2.9 billion.

“He had an outsized aggressive drive that may have been the envy of the nice Inexperienced Bay Packers’ soccer coach Vince Lombardi,” the previous secretary of state James A. Baker III, a good friend, wrote in a tribute on the web site of Claremont McKenna Faculty, Mr. Day’s alma mater, after his demise. “His mantra was easy: Successful is the one factor. However on the similar time, he all the time led with an esprit de corps that made experiences with him as gratifying as they had been hard-working.”

After promoting his firm, Mr. Day centered totally on philanthropy, largely by way of the Keck Basis, which his grandfather based and which now oversees some $1.5 billion.

Robert Addison Day was born in Los Angeles on Dec. 11, 1943, to Robert Addison Day and Willametta Keck Day. His father was a director of Superior Oil who would later turn out to be president of the Los Angeles fireplace and harbor commissions, and his mom was a philanthropist. Disagreements together with her brother, Howard B. Keck, over the way forward for Superior Oil led to the corporate’s sale to Mobil for $5.7 billion in 1984.

Mr. Day graduated from the Stevenson Faculty in 1961 and from Claremont McKenna, the place he wrote his senior thesis about the best way to discovered an asset administration agency, in 1965. (His proposal earned a B-minus “for bravery.”)

After school, he moved to New York to work on the white-shoe funding financial institution White, Weld & Firm. However he shortly moved on: In 1969, he began Cypress Companions, an early instance of a hedge fund, and two years later he based Belief Firm of the West with $2 million in belongings below administration.

TCW grew to become a major investor in shares, bonds, actual property and different belongings, managing cash on behalf of shoppers like Boeing, Xerox and the California State Academics’ Retirement System. It additionally produced celebrity financiers, together with the Oaktree Capital founders Howard Marks and Bruce Karsh and the DoubleLine Capital founder Jeffrey Gundlach.

Mr. Day was later drawn right into a dispute between TCW and Mr. Gundlach, who was fired from the agency in 2010: An ally of Mr. Gundlach’s claimed that Mr. Day instructed him he had been fired partially for lacking workers events held by Mr. Day and for making “an excessive amount of cash.”

Even after promoting TCW to Société Générale, which was stated to have earned him a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}, Mr. Day retained ties to the enterprise world. He served on the French financial institution’s board as its first American director, in addition to on the boards of Freeport-McMoRan and Fisher Scientific.

And he was the chairman and main shareholder of Foley Timber and Land Firm, which managed a 560,000-acre plot of land — concerning the dimension of Rhode Island — in Florida, making it one of many state’s largest landowners. Foley Timber later offered a majority of its holdings to a different monetary mogul, Thomas Peterffy.

However Mr. Day’s consideration largely shifted to philanthropy, a lot of it centered on Claremont McKenna, the place he joined the board of trustees in 1970 and stayed on for 5 many years. In 2007, Mr. Day donated $500 million to the college to create the Robert Day Students Program; it was one of many largest presents ever given to an American school or college. The donation led the college to rename its economics division after him.

In 2021, a $40 million donation from the Keck Basis led to the creation of the college’s Robert Day Sciences Heart.

“Robert’s private, skilled and philanthropic dedication to Claremont McKenna is extraordinary,” Hiram Chodosh, the college’s president, stated in a press release. “The legacy of his impression is incalculable.”

In 2008, Mr. Day stated of his presents to the college, “I imagine that I ought to put one thing again into the system, as a result of if I don’t put one thing again, the following technology is not going to have the identical advantages I loved.”

By way of the Keck Basis — which says it has given greater than 6,500 awards, value $2.2 billion, since 1954 — Mr. Day gave to an array of different establishments. Many had been in his native Southern California, together with medical initiatives and establishments on the College of Southern California and the College of California, Los Angeles, in addition to the Los Angeles County Museum of Artwork.

Mr. Day is survived by his spouse, Marlyn; two sons, Joe and Jon; a daughter, DiDi Day; a brother, Matt; and several other grandchildren. (He was beforehand married to Marina Forstmann and to Kelly Gilmore.) His brothers Lawrence and T.J. and his sister, Tammis, died earlier than him.


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