NYC Financial Firm CEO Found Dead in Mass.

"Took his own life"

Tuesday, Sep 15, 2009  |  Updated 3:15 PM EDT
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NYC Financial Firm CEO Found Dead in Mass.

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The President and chief executive of Manhattan investment management firm Rockefeller & Co. was found dead from a self-inflicted wound, Massachusetts authorities said Tuesday.

James S. McDonald, 56, was discovered Sunday at 3 p.m. in his car outside a Dartmouth auto dealership 50 miles south of Boston, said Gregg Miliote, Bristol district attorney’s office spokesman said.

He left no note but had called his wife earlier that day, Miliote said Tuesday, without sharing any details of the couple’s conversation.

Longtime friend Barclay McFadden III said McDonald "took his own life," but said neither he nor the family had any other comment.

McDonald was the president and chief executive of Rockefeller & Co. since 2001. The New York firm provides wealth management and investment tips to families, foundations and endowments.

"Jim McDonald was an exceptional individual, who provided strong leadership of Rockefeller and Company for over eight years," board Chairman Colin Campbell said in a statement. "He will be missed by all of us privileged to have known and worked with him."

The chief operating office at the firm, Austin Shapard, has taken over daily operations and leadership.

He was on the board and served as director of stock exchange operator NYSE Euronext since November 2003. He also served on the board of CIT Group Inc.

"The NYSE Euronext community 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," spokesman Rich Adamonis said.

McDonald graduated from Harvard in 1974 and earned an undergraduate degree. He also earned a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1977.

Prior to working at Rockefeller & Co., he was the chief executive at Pell Rudman Trust Co.

McFadden said funeral arrangements are still pending.

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