Country of origin: China
Year came to U.S.: 1952
Education: BA Mathematics, Queens College at City University of New York
Business: CA, Inc. (1976)
Headquarters: Islandia, NY
2015 revenue: $4.3 billion
Worldwide employment: 11,600
Wang was once the highest-paid CEO in the United States.
He owns the New York Islanders Hockey Club and promotes ice hockey in China.
“We Chinese American entrepreneurs … can add a lot more to our country by setting examples in how to give. Giving back to America shouldn’t only have a Rockefeller, a Ford or a Gates name tag attached to it.”
So said Charles B. Wang in 2002, the year he left the company he co-founded, CA Technologies. But as much as he advocated for immigrant philanthropy, he was also maligned for being “Software’s tough guy” (Bloomberg Businessweek).
Wang’s family came to the United States on a standard visa program. Moving to Queens, NY from Shanghai when he was eight, Wang spent his career as a visionary businessman, a pioneer in the Chinese American community, a sports enthusiast and a major philanthropist.
In 1976, he helped launch what is now CA Inc. CA sells and supports information technology management and security software for Fortune 2000 companies. At the height of his success, Wang was the nation’s highest-paid CEO, owner of the New York Islanders Hockey Club and an investment officer overseeing a $17 billion portfolio.
But he is as controversial as he is admirable. In a career that included 50 hostile takeovers, Wang has been described as “heartless.” However, none of this deterred Wang from making sterling contributions to both American and Chinese society. His $50 million donation to the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook was the largest in history to a SUNY school. He funded the expansion of New York’s Chinatown Health Clinic and donated a new law school to China’s Soochow University. He even invested his own money to develop ice hockey in China.
Such philanthropy is certainly not uncommon among immigrant entrepreneurs, yet the contribution made by Charles B. Wang has indeed been remarkable.