Steve Ross (Time Warner CEO)

Steve Ross (September 17, 1927 - December 20, 1992) was responsible for the 1990 merger of Warner Communications and Time Inc. into the world's largest media and entertainment conglomerate, Time Warner.

.cite web
last = Anonymous
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Steven J. Ross
work = Newsmakers 1993, Issue 4
publisher = Gale Research
year = 1993
url = http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC
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doi =
accessdate = 2007-03-23
] The family name was changed by Ross's father in 1932.cite web
last = Anonymous
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title = Steven J. Ross
work = The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Volume 3: 1991-1993.
publisher = Charles Scribner's Sons
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Early life

Ross was born Steven Jay Rechnitz in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish immigrant parents. Ross enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June 1945 and was discharged in 1946. Ross later claimed that he suffered a hearing loss due to his combat service but he never served in combat and spent only seven days at sea, mostly taking the USS Hopping to Florida for decommissioning. Ross followed his World War II-era naval service with studies at Paul Smith's College (located in Paul Smiths, New York).

Career

Kinney Parking Company was originally a funeral home company which had expanded with the acquisition of New York parking lots, office cleaning firms and construction companies. Joining Kinney when he married the owner's daughter, Carol Rosenthal (in 1954), Ross succeeded in expanding his father-in-law's funeral company.

In 1958, he began arranging an alliance between the Manhattan-based funeral business and New Jersey's Kinney System. The companies merged in 1962. After Kinney National Service moved from downtown Newark to 10 Rockefeller Plaza in November, 1962, Ross became the company president. Ross was the co-CEO of Kinney National Company from 1969 to 1972. He became the sole CEO, president and chairman of Warner Communications in 1972.

In 1982, Ross was accused by federal prosecutor Nathaniel H. Akerman of having Warner assistant treasurer Solomon Weiss, who had followed Ross from Kinney, act as the "banker or overseer of a secret cash fund" of $170,000 in bribes.Citation
last = Lubasch
first = Arnold H.
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Prosecutor Links Chief At Warner to Bribe Plan
newspaper = New York Times
pages = D1
year = 1982
date = 1982-11-04
url =
] The accusation came at Weiss' trial for mail fraud, racketeering, perjury and tax violations stemming from Warner Communications investments in the Westchester Premier Theater, a joint venture of the Colombo, Gambino, and Genovese crime syndicates.cite book
last = Poundstone
first = William
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Fortune's Formula
publisher = Hill and Wang
year = 2005
location = New York
pages = 250-252
url =
doi =
id = 0-8090-4637-7
] Weiss, and two other Warner executives—Jay Emmett and Leonard Horwitz—were all convicted of crimes related to the affair.Citation
last = Lubasch
first = Arnold H.
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Warner Executive Convicted of Fraud in Purchase of Theater Stock
newspaper = New York Times
pages = 42
year = 1982
date = 1982-11-28
url =
] Although Emmett implicated Ross, he was never indicted and the federal investigation of him was closed in 1985 due to "insufficient evidence" to obtain a conviction.

In the fall off 1982 Ross ordered Ray Kassar, president of the Atari videogame company which was then owned by Warner Communications, to produce an E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial videogame for their 2600 game platform as a product tie-in with Warner's hit film of the same name by Christmas - giving them less than 6 weeks to produce and market the game from start to finish. The videogame is still widely regarded as one of the worst video games ever made, and 5 million unsold cartridges were eventually buried in a landfill and covered with cement. The loss cost Atari $536 million and is widely credited with causing a massive slump in the videogame industry known as the "Crash of 83" North American video game crash of 1983

The merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications, Inc., which began in 1989, was finalized on January 10, 1990. In 1990, Ross took home a record $78.2 million in total pay.

When Ross died from prostate cancer at the age of 65 in the last weeks of 1992, Gerald Levin stepped in January 21, 1993, as Time Warner's sole CEO.

His second wife was the socialite and urban planner Amanda Burden.

Director Steven Spielberg gave actor Liam Neeson (who, at 6'4", was the same height as Ross) tapes of Steve Ross to use as research for his role as Oskar Schindler in the film "Schindler's List"

Awards

He is inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003, as one of the founders of the New York Cosmos.

Death and Estate

He is buried in Green River Cemetery in East Hampton (town), New York.

Donations from his estate were to establish The Ross School, located in East Hampton, New York and The Ross Global Academy in New York City.

References

ee also

* "Master of the Game: Steve Ross and the Creation of Time Warner" by Connie Bruck (Simon & Schuster, 1994)


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