Founder and CEO / ValueAct
With ValueAct, JEFF UBBEN ’87 invests in wayward, undervalued companies
For many, change means a new tie or eating more greens. For Jeff Ubben, change is a seat at the table.
As CEO and founder of ValueAct, a San Francisco-based activist hedge fund, Ubben invests in companies to gain seats on their boards. From there, his group can effect change.
This kind of work can be risky. Case in point: ValueAct recently invested $2 billion in Microsoft, a company reeling from a decade of disappointing sales. But ValueAct’s style of investing, which favors longer-term engagement, gives Ubben more time to help the company. “We try to make good companies better,” Ubben says.
Ubben longed for this kind of work as a portfolio manager at Fidelity Management. Tired of others making the decisions, Ubben moved out west and worked as a managing partner at Blum Capital Partners, a private equity firm, before starting ValueAct in 2000.
Now managing more than $12 billion, Ubben has grown the company by making “a few good decisions each year,” he says.
But some of his best work comes from working with charities like the New York-based Posse Foundation, which provides scholarships to gifted high school students overlooked by top-ranked colleges. “The long-term goal is to have leaders in the workforce better represent the demographics of our country,” he says.