James S. McDonald, the CEO of money-management firm Rockefeller & Co., died Sunday from an apparently self-inflicted wound. McDonald, who also sat on the board of the NYSE Euronext, the giant stock exchange, was 56 years old. In a statement obtained by the Wall Street Journal Monday night, Barclay McFadden III, who called himself a friend of McDonald's family, said McDonald "took his own life," and said the family would have no further comment.
McDonald's apparent suicide came less than one week after Finn M. W. Casperson, the former chairman and CEO of Beneficial Corp. and another prominent financial figure, was found dead from a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head near his own home in Westerly, Rhode Island.
The circumstances surrounding McDonald's passing were still unclear Tuesday morning, though he is believed to have taken his own life in New Bedford, Mass. Reached by DailyFinance, a detective with the New Bedford police department was unable to provide further details.
Colin Campbell, Chairman of Rockefeller & Co., which began as the "family office" of legendary industrialist John D. Rockefeller, issued a statement saying, "Jim McDonald was an exceptional individual who provided strong leadership of Rockefeller & Co. for over eight years. He will be missed by all of us privileged to have known and worked with him."
McDonald had been CEO of the New York-based Rockefeller & Co., which was originally founded in 1882 to manage the assets of Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller and his family, since 2001. Today, the firm has some $28 billion under management for clients that include foundations, endowments, and private investors. Rockefeller & Co. doesn't disclose the performance of its investment portfolio.
McDonald graduated from Harvard University and earned a law degree from University of Virginia. Prior to joining Rockefeller & Co., he ran Pell, Rudman Trust Co. in Boston. McDonald was also chairman of the Japan Society in New York.
Richard Adamonis, a spokesman for NYSE Euronext where Mr. McDonald had served on the board of directors since 2003, issued the following statement: "The NYSE Euronext community mourns the loss and offers our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Jim McDonald, an outstanding and accomplished individual who served our capital markets and NYSE Euronext with great commitment and integrity."
James S. McDonald, CEO of Rockefeller & Co., dead in apparent suicide at 56