Charles B. Wang, Software Entrepreneur and New York Islanders Owner, Dies at 74

Charles B. Wang, Software Entrepreneur and New York Islanders Owner, Dies at 74


Charles B. Wang, an entrepreneur and deal-maker who constructed a multibillion-dollar software program enterprise and have become a majority proprietor of the New York Islanders, died on Sunday at his house in Oyster Bay, N.Y. He was 74.

The trigger was lung most cancers, mentioned John McEntee, a lawyer representing Mr. Wang and his household.

Mr. Wang (pronounced Wong) was a controversial determine within the software program business. He was a Chinese language immigrant who constructed a profitable firm. However he additionally grew to become a logo of lavish govt pay and was embroiled in an accounting scandal, although he was by no means formally charged.

By the top of the 1990s, Laptop Associates, which Mr. Wang co-founded and led, was the world’s third-largest software program maker, trailing solely Microsoft and IBM in gross sales. But the enterprise, specializing in behind-the-scenes software program applications, was not broadly recognized outdoors the business. Lots of the applications managed digital operations in company pc facilities.

Mr. Wang, the chairman and chief govt, was keen on calling Laptop Associates “the most important software program firm no one ever heard of.”

Laptop Associates, based in 1976, was an agglomeration of some 200 acquisitions, a sworn statement to Mr. Wang’s deal-making fervor. He usually regarded for older firms with beneficial rosters of shoppers and a enterprise that appeared ripe for an overhaul. He would then hearth executives and workers members whereas sharply slicing prices.

In March 2000, Mr. Wang appeared on the duvet of Enterprise Week journal, beneath the headline “Software program’s Powerful Man.”

The journal referred to as his administration type “harsh however efficient,” delivering hefty revenue margins. The employees who remained had been handled properly. The corporate’s headquarters in Islandia, on Lengthy Island, included a child-care middle and different facilities. Fortune journal included Laptop Associates on its checklist of the very best firms to work for in America.

The company generosity began on the high, as Mr. Wang was one of many nation’s highest-paid executives. In 1998, he acquired a $670 million inventory grant.

However a 12 months later, a 390-page report by the Laptop Associates board, assisted by an out of doors legislation agency, discovered Mr. Wang culpable as properly. “No vital choices had been made with out his participation and approval,” the report mentioned.

Mr. Wang dismissed the report as “fallacious.”

By then, Laptop Associates had changed its senior administration group and most of its board members. The enterprise had shrunk by 40 p.c from 2000 to 2006.

The corporate, which later modified its title to CA Applied sciences, would by no means be a highflier once more. However new managers streamlined and stabilized the previous enterprise, and moved into new fields like software program instruments for internet-style computing. This 12 months, Broadcom, an enormous chipmaker, purchased CA Applied sciences for almost $19 billion.

Charles B. Wang was born on Aug. 19, 1944, in Shanghai. When he was eight, his household moved to New York, the place his father, a former decide in pre-revolutionary China, taught worldwide legislation at St. John’s College, and his mom, Mary, studied and labored as a librarian.

Mr. Wang is survived by his mom; two brothers, Anthony and Francis; his spouse, Nancy Li; and three kids — Kimberly Dey, along with his first spouse, Ingrid S. Wang, and Jasmine and Cameron, with Ms. Li. He’s additionally survived by three grandchildren.

Mr. Wang graduated from Brooklyn Technical Excessive College after which Queens Faculty, majoring in math and physics. After commencement, he answered a help-wanted advert for a pc programmer at Columbia College. Mr. Wang had by no means used a pc, however he talked his approach into the job, taught himself to code and had a knack for it.

After a sequence of programming and gross sales jobs, Mr. Wang and some colleagues based Laptop Associates Worldwide.

Mr. Wang’s philanthropy included founding Smile Prepare, which supplies cleft-palate surgical procedures free to kids in creating nations. He additionally a program to develop ice hockey in China.

Mr. Wang contributed to numerous organizations in his adopted house of Lengthy Island, together with Stony Brook College, the place a $25 million Asian-American middle bears his title.

Native loyalty, greater than a sports activities ardour, appeared to have led to his participation within the Nationwide Hockey League. Mr. Wang’s favourite sport was basketball, and he had attended just one professional hockey recreation when he was sought out in 2000 to develop into a serious investor within the New York Islanders.

On the time, the group was struggling, each financially and on the rink. However Mr. Wang was gained over and he grew to become the bulk proprietor from 2001 to 2016. He then scaled again to a minority stake.

Whereas in management, he unsuccessfully sought to have a brand new area inbuilt Uniondale, N.Y., however finally moved the group to Barclays Heart in Brooklyn. In the long run, his want got here true — the Islanders are transferring again to the island, to the newly constructed Belmont Park area, anticipated to open in 2021. They may play on the Nassau Coliseum, their previous house, for a part of the following three seasons.

As a nonexpert, Mr. Wang had some unconventional recommendations, like making an attempt out sumo wrestlers for goalies. “He assumed no one might put a purpose previous a sumo wrestler,” Mike Milbury, a former basic supervisor of the Islanders, advised The New York Occasions.

Nonetheless, his enthusiasm was not unsure. Mr. Wang, Mr. Milbury mentioned, “desperately wished to maintain the group on the Island.”

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