Thomas W. Weisel is Co-Chairman of Stifel Financial Corp. Previously Mr. Weisel was Chairman and CEO of Thomas Weisel Partners Group, Inc., a firm he founded in 1998. Mr. Weisel has been on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation Board since 1977 and was the Chairman from 1983 through 1994. He has been Chairman of the USA Cycling Foundation Board since its founding in 2000. Mr. Weisel graduated from Stanford University with distinction and honors in Economics and obtained his MBA from Harvard University. Mr. Weisel chaired the capital campaign for California School of Arts and Crafts that funded their San Francisco campus.
Mr. Weisel serves on the Board of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He has served on the boards of NASDAQ, Stanford Endowment Management, Harvard Business School Advisory and the New York Museum of Modern Art.
Thomas Weisel is an entrepreneur, business builder and philanthropist. He has formed two companies: Montgomery Securities and Thomas Weisel Partners, which, over the course of 37 years, helped define the landscape of Silicon Valley and sold for a total of $2.0 billion.
Mr. Weisel grew Montgomery Securities into a $700 million revenue company. Montgomery Securities was known for identifying, researching and financing growth companies. The firm managed IPOs for many significant growth companies in Technology, Healthcare, Consumer, and Financial Services including: Amgen, Micron Technologies, Yahoo, Stratacom, Staples, and Lonestar Steakhouse and Saloon.
Montgomery’s distinctive competences were its thought leadership, unique ability to make its institutional clients money, the ability to attract the best in class personnel, magnetic growth conferences, and athletic cache.
In addition, Montgomery built a $7 billion asset management business that involved three mutual funds that were #1 in performance in various years in the 1990s. In 1997, Mr. Weisel sold Montgomery Securities, including its asset management business, for $1.55 billion , representing 13x value for its investment bank to Nations Bank/Bank of America.
In 1999, Mr. Weisel launched Thomas Weisel Partners (TWP), which was backed by several leading venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. In its first full year of operation, TWP produced roughly $500 million in revenue, making it the fastest startup in the history of the financial service industry. Mr. Weisel was named Investment Banker of the Year by Investment Dealers’ Digest in 2000. The company completed many important IPOs and M&A transactions including the $44 billion sale of SDL Inc. to JDS Uniphase and Yahoo’s $3.5 billion acquisition of GEOCities. Mr. Weisel was named Executive of the Year by the SF Business Times in 1999. He was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship in 2002.
In 2010, Mr. Weisel sold Thomas Weisel Partners to Stifel Financial Company for $450 million, including retention. Mr. Weisel is currently Co-Chairman of Stifel Financial, a $2.5 billion revenue company with a $3 billion market cap. As part of their curriculum, Harvard Business School and Yale School of Management have each published case studies and taught classes on Thomas Weisel Partners (2000-2007).
Mr. Weisel has spoken at Harvard Business School Forum for Entrepreneurship. Mr. Weisel received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 from the National Venture Capital Association. He was a board member of NASDAQ from 2002-2006. In addition, he was on the Advisory Board of Harvard Business School (HBS) from 2007-2009.
Mr. Weisel is currently on the Harvard Business School Northern California Advisory Council. He is also a strategic advisor to the Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), a $5.4 billion private equity fund. Mr. Weisel is a frequent speaker on Silicon Valley history and on business and stock market outlook.
Thom heli-skiing in Sun Valley
Thom and Kipling on top Mont Ventoux, France
Thom surfing in Namotu Island, Fiji
Early days of Subaru Montgomery Elite and Masters Cycling Team
1990 National Masters Championships Sprint (left) and Kilo (right)
1981 National Corporate Championships (left) 1990 National Criterium Masters Championships (right)
Thomas Weisel has been passionate about competitive sports since his youth, both as a participant and later in leadership roles for skiing and cycling.
As an Athlete
Thomas Weisel started in sports at an early age, speed skating in local races at age 7 and winning the Midget Boys Wisconsin State Championship at 10 years old. He set the National record for Juvenile Boys in 1955 and won his first National Speed Skating Championship that year as well. He continued winning, becoming a five-time age-rated National speed skating champion from 1955-1959. He set five national records at various distances during that time. He placed third in the Olympic trials in 1959 at the age of 17. At the same time Weisel was active in other sports, becoming the starting quarterback for his high school football team and winning the Class A seniors 1-mile bike race in Wisconsin against a national field.
Mr. Weisel started to ski race in the late 1970’s and eventually won the bronze medal in Slalom, Giant Slalom and Overall in the US Masters National Championship in 1982 in the 40 year-old age group.
Over several decades at Montgomery Securities, Mr. Weisel helped form competitive teams in multiple sports to engender camaraderie among the firm. Many employees competed in the SROG (Summer Rally Olympic Games) in the early 1970’s. This was a ten event decathlon in which Mr. Weisel won the first year.
In 1980, Montgomery had a very competitive running team, placing 3rd at the Runners World National Corporate Challenge. Later on, they formed skiing and cycling teams. The cycling team won the AT&T Corporate Challenge in 1989.
Mr. Weisel’s knees gave him problems after too much ski racing and running distance races, including the Dipsea in Mill Valley, so he took up bicycling racing in the 1980’s. Mr. Weisel won five age rated US National Championships and three World Championships on the track and criterium racing between 1989 and 1991. In 1991, Mr. Weisel was named the Masters Athlete of the Year by US Cycling. He set two age rated national records in 1991.
Presently, Mr. Weisel is an avid cyclist, skier and surfer.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Montgomery Securities competed in many corporate sports events including running, skiing and cycling. The firm started Montgomery Sports in 1987 to establish a domestic cycling team. In 1990, the firm attracted Subaru to become a co-sponsor of the team, which was renamed the Subaru Montgomery Cycling Team. The team recruited the former United States Olympic cycling team coach, Edward “Eddie B” Borysewicz, as well as Lance Armstrong that year. Armstrong won the US Amateur Road Race in 1991 but left for the Motorola team in 1992.
Montgomery Sports recruited 1984 Olympic gold medal cyclist, Mark Gorski, to run its cycling program. In 1995, the team attracted the U.S. Postal Service as its lead sponsor. Armstrong joined the U.S. Postal Service team for the 1998 season. Montgomery Securities was sold to Nations Bank / Bank of America in 1997 along with Montgomery Sports. Beginning in August 1999, ownership of the cycling team was taken over by DFP Cycling, with Mr. Gorski still managing the team’s business and day-to-day activities. In April 2001, DFP Cycling changed its name to Tailwind Cycling. The U.S. Postal Service ended its sponsorship of the team at the end of 2004 and Tailwind Cycling wound down operations in 2007. Mr. Weisel never held more than a minority interest in any entity that owned the U.S. Postal Service cycling team.
With regard to Lance Armstrong’s doping and the litigation surrounding this matter, Mr. Weisel has testified under oath that he did not know about Armstrong’s doping activities. Not one of the athletes who has recently admitted to doping – in books they have authored, in interviews, in affidavits they have submitted to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, or in testimony they have given – has said that he ever discussed doping with Mr. Weisel, let alone that Mr. Weisel encouraged or condoned doping by US Postal Service team members. After a two-year-plus investigation into the allegations in a whistleblower lawsuit filed on behalf of the United States by Floyd Landis against Armstrong, the team’s coach, Johann Bruyneel, Mr. Armstrong’s business managers, and Mr. Weisel, the Department of Justice declined to intervene in the case against Mr. Weisel. Mr. Weisel then moved to dismiss all of Landis’s claims against him and, in 2014, the court granted Mr. Weisel’s motion and dismissed the claims against Mr. Weisel.
Thomas Weisel collects contemporary art, Native American and Asian Pacific antiquities, with an interest in art going back several decades. Originally introduced to contemporary art by some friends who were part of a San Francisco art group in the early 1970’s, he set out to learn as much as he could about contemporary art. He started researching, reading books like Systems and Dialectics of Art by John Graham, and talking to experts like Alan Stone, a New York art dealer, to get their insights.
When he felt he had learned enough about the topic, he started collecting a few pieces. He was one of the first dedicated collectors of Wayne Theibaud’s work. Mr. Weisel also developed a particular fondness for the New York Abstract Expressionists and the California Bay Area Figurative artists. He continues to explore and collect contemporary artists.
In November of 2002, Mr. Weisel decided to take advantage of a very strong art market and put 21 paintings up for through Sotheby’s. The sale brought record prices for three California artists: Thiebaud, Oliveira and Park. It also set a record for Franz Kline.
Thom Weisel and Nick Forstmann receiving award for distinguished services to Empower America from former president Gerald Ford. With Jack Kemp (left), Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Bill Bennett (right) in 1998.
In 1993, Thomas Weisel was introduced by Ted Forstmann of Forstmann Little & Company, to Jack Kemp of Empower America, an organization Ted founded with his brother Nick Forstmann, and Julian Robertson.
Empower America was a pro-growth political think tank that advocated through its founders: Jack Kemp, Bill Bennett, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Lamar Alexander. The group was very close to Dick Armey and Newt Gringrich and would support legislation that would encourage entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. Young upcoming politicians would serve internships at Empower America, like Paul Ryan, congressman from Wisconsin.
In Capital Instincts, by Richard Brandt, the author relays: Weisel and Kemp hit it off immediately, of course. Says the former quarterback and 1965 American Football League MVP, “He’s much more of an all-around athlete than I am. He would have been a great pro football quarterback, and that’s the highest compliment I can pay to anyone.” As for politics, “He’s a bleeding heart capitalist,” adds Kemp. “He’s a populist free enterpriser. He wants capitalism to work for everyone.”
Weisel joined the board of Empower America in 1993, and when Steve Forbes resigned as chairman of the organization in 1996 in order to make his own bid for the presidency, Kemp asked Weisel to take over. He did so for three years, beginning in 1996.
One of Weisel’s most significant contributions to the organization may have been to build up its finances. Empower America was launched with about $5 million in financing, mostly personal contributions by the founders. “They went off into the sunset thinking they would never have to raise more money,” says Weisel.
They were wrong, and the organization was in financial straits by the time Weisel took over. Weisel began lobbying friends and business associates for donations, and raised many millions for the organization. He has always been pretty good at fund raising.
But money was certainly not the only support he gave to the organization. “His financial contribution was significant, but a big part of his contribution was leadership,” says Kemp. “He tightened our belt, brought in a lot of his friends, and focused our energy on major areas of public policy where we could make a difference-such as capital gain taxes, free trade, the regulatory burden in telecom. He loved the issues of educational choice, welfare reform, and maintaining a strong national defense.”
Empower America merged with Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) to create a new group called FreedomWorks in 2004.
Committee on Jobs
The Committee on Jobs was formed in 1992 by Warren Hellman (co-founder of private equity firm Hellman & Friedman) and Don Fisher (founder of The Gap) as an association of San Francisco’s top business leaders who are concerned about the long‐term economic vitality of the city. Two years after its formation, Mr. Weisel was asked to join the alliance, a position in which he served for over two decades. Jobs’ primary focus has been to promote a business climate that allows the city to remain a desirable place to live, work, and operate a business, protecting the workforce and the city’s tax base.
Kipling training in Chile
Olivia surfing in Namotu Island, Fiji
Thom and family heli-skiing in Sun Valley
Thomas Weisel is married to Janet Barnes and they have two young sons. Ms. Barnes is currently a Managing Director at Thomas Weisel Investment Management – she and Thomas manage an institutional quality portfolio of hedge funds, private equity, and venture funds as well as direct investments. Prior to this, Ms. Barnes spent twenty years in equity and fixed income capital markets. She is currently on the Board of Trustees at the DeYoung Museum of Fine Arts and sits on their Finance Committee as well as on the Investment and Accessions Committee at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Ms. Barnes also serves on the board of Education Francois Bay Area (EFBA). She is also a member of Chevaliers du Tastevin in San Francisco. Ms. Barnes is passionate about skiing, cycling and mountain climbing.
Thom’s two middle children are Kipling and Olivia. Kipling is a sophomore at Dartmouth and a member of the U.S. Ski Team’s Men’s Alpine B Team for the 2017-2018 season (click here to learn more). Olivia graduated from high school in 2017 and plans to attend Middlebury as a recruited soccer player in the Fall of 2018. She is taking a gap year to travel throughout Europe and Nepal.
Mr. Weisel’s oldest son, Brett, graduated from UC Berkeley and currently runs a distressed real estate fund. His daughter, Heather, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, has a PhD in Psychology, and runs an educational publishing business. His son Wyatt, who passed away in December 2017 from complications with lupus, graduated from the University of Colorado and had a Masters from Tuck School of Business. Mr. Weisel has eight grandchildren.