Lynn Tilton (1960-)
Company: Patriarch Partners
Size: $8 billion in 2013
Lynn Tilton, through her private equity firm Patriarch Partners, owns more companies than any other woman in the United States, with a combined value of more than $8 billion. A Bronx native and graduate of Yale and Columbia Universities, Tilton’s career escalated through several Wall Street investment firms before she founded her own business “on the investment principle that making money and making the world a better place are not mutually exclusive concepts.” She does this by investing in distressed companies whose failure would result in significant job loss. In the highly competitive and predominantly male world of finance, she has grown Patriarch Partners’ portfolio to include more than 70 companies and is committed to providing debt and equity investments in those industries that regularly face the threat of liquidation, most notably in the manufacturing sector. Through her acquisition strategy, she is credited with saving more than 250,000 American jobs.
“In the end, I'm devoted to people and trying to take value that would be lost and keep people from going home and telling their families they don't have a job. That's what keeps getting me up in the morning and continuing to like myself and what I do. If the worst somebody says is that you are using your sexuality, I'd like to think I'll be remembered for my intellect and that I got up each morning and got my fingernails dirty."