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Private equity veteran Wilbur Ross joins Trump cabinet

WL Ross’s Wilbur Ross, who was a fervent supporter of President-elect Donald Trump during the campaign, was appointed secretary of commerce on Wednesday.

Billionaire turnaround investor Wilbur Ross has been named as President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for commerce secretary, a WL Ross and Co. spokeswoman confirmed with Private Equity International.

The firm has not yet begun planning for changes once Ross takes up his new role in government, the spokeswoman said. Ross stepped down from his full-time role at WL Ross in 2014 and stayed on as chairman and chief strategy officer.

The firm is led by co-heads Stephen Toy, who was a founding member of WL Ross, and Gregory Stoeckle, previously president and managing director of Invesco Senior Secured Management.

Ross announced his appointment on Wednesday on CNBC alongside Wall Street banker Steve Mnuchin, whom Trump picked for treasury secretary.

WL Ross, which has $4.6 billion in assets under management according to PEI data, was sold to investment manager Invesco in 2006.

According to his profile on the WL Ross website, Ross has participated in the restructurings of more than $200 billion of corporate liabilities, and formerly served as executive managing director of Rothschild Inc. for 24 years. In 2000, he acquired the private equity arm of Rothschild.

WL Ross, which was started in 1997, focuses on four main areas: opportunistic buyouts, restructurings and turnarounds, special situations and real assets. According to PEI data, the firm is currently investing turnaround vehicle WLR Recovery Fund V, which closed on $2.2 billion, under its original $4 billion target, in 2012, and launched WLR Recovery Fund VI in 2014.

Limited partners in WL Ross’s fifth recovery fund, include Oregon Public Employees’ Retirement System, TIAA Global Asset Management, University of California Regents Endowment Fund and Hall Family Foundation, according to PEI data.

Ross is among a handful of private equity figures that expressed support for Trump during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Colony Capital founder Tom Barrack was another of them, and was named earlier this month by Trump as chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.