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Thomas S. Ricketts

Thomas S. Ricketts (born May 23, 1963) is the Chairman of the Chicago Cubs,[1] and the Chairman, co-founder and former CEO of Incapital LLC,[2] a firm that provides securities firms and individual investors more efficient access to corporate bonds.[3] Together with his sister Laura and brothers Pete and Todd, the Ricketts siblings serve as the board of directors for the Cubs.[1] He is the son of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation founder J. Joseph Ricketts.[4][5] Joe Ricketts has a net worth of US$2.3 billion as of 2018 according to Forbes.[6]

In January 2009, a Ricketts family bid led by Tom emerged as the winning bidder for the Chicago Cubs.[7] The bid was estimated to total around $900 million for the team and related assets.[8] The sale was approved unanimously by the owners of the other 29 Major League Baseball teams that October,[7] Ricketts was introduced as the chairman of the Cubs on October 31, 2009.[9] Tom and his three siblings - Peter, Laura, and Todd - and both of his parents share ownership of the team through their family trust.[7]


Ricketts is the son of Marlene Margaret (Volkmer) and J. Joseph Ricketts, who founded Ameritrade when Tom was eight years old. Ricketts Senior let it be known that he wanted his children to establish themselves through their own hard work and would not be allowed to join TD Ameritrade until they reached the age of 30.[10]

Ricketts is one of four children. His brother J. Peter Ricketts, who lives in Omaha, is the 40th and current Governor of Nebraska[11] and was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Nebraska.[12] His younger sister, Laura Ricketts, is a former corporate lawyer and a board member of the Housing Opportunities for Women organization. His brother, Todd Ricketts is a board member of T.D. Ameritrade, an entrepreneur and finance chair of the Republican National Committee.[13] Tom Ricketts and his wife Cecelia and their five children all live in Wilmette, Illinois.

University of ChicagoEdit

In 1983, Ricketts moved to Chicago in order to attend the University of Chicago. Just out of high school, he moved in with his younger brother Peter, also a student at the University of Chicago.[14] Ricketts received a bachelor's degree from the university in 1988 and returned to receive his Master of Business Administration in 1993. Ricketts was awarded the 'Distinguished Young Alumni' award from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, recognizing graduates that achieve extraordinary career success and outstanding leadership.[15] Ricketts has given generous donations to the University of Chicago and established the 'New Year Scholarship Fund,' which awards an incoming student a full undergraduate scholarship.[16] Named after his joy of celebrating the Chinese New Year, the scholarship not only funds promising students but also allows for those students to meet with Ricketts and the other members of the endowment.[17]

Chicago CubsEdit

Ricketts during the victory parade following the Cubs 2016 World Series victory

In April 2007, Sam Zell announced his intention to acquire the Chicago-based Tribune Company. After acquiring the Tribune, Zell announced that he would sell the Cubs and related entities including Wrigley Field and a 25% share of SportsNet Chicago.[14][18] Under bankruptcy protection, the sale of the Cubs and the 25% interest in SportsNet Chicago would raise needed funds for the ailing Tribune company. In a campaign led by Ricketts, the family was selected for the winning bid on January 22, 2009.[19] Forbes estimated that the ownership stake in the Chicago Cubs represents $642 million out of the total $900 million bid made by Ricketts.[18]

Tom Ricketts has said that his love for the Chicago Cubs started during the 1984 season when he was 18 years old and moved to Chicago to attend college. Later, Tom and his brother Pete lived in an apartment over the "Sports Corner" at Addison and Sheffield, across the street from Wrigley Field. He met his wife Cecelia in the Wrigley bleachers and simply states that "my family and I are Cubs fans".[14] The bid was reviewed by Major League Baseball and other stake holders. Although several close friends told the press about Ricketts's deep love for the Cubs, the Ricketts family decided not to court media attention until the bid was accepted by all parties.[14]

On July 6, 2009, the Chicago Tribune reported that Tom Ricketts and family had reached an agreement with the Tribune Company to purchase the Cubs, Wrigley Field, and 25% of Comcast SportsNet Chicago for close to $900 million, as was originally reported. The contract was sent to commissioner Bud Selig for approval.[20] Final approval came by a unanimous vote of the other MLB owners in an October 6, 2009 conference call.[21] On October 27, 2009, the Ricketts family, with Thomas S. Ricketts as board chairman, officially took over 95% ownership of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, and 25% ownership of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. The Tribune opted to retain a 5% ownership stake in the team.[22]

Real Estate Development Around Wrigley FieldEdit

Since acquiring the Chicago Cubs in Oct. 2009, the Ricketts family placed a priority on renovating Wrigley Field as part of their plan to put a championship-caliber team on the field. In 2014, the nearly $1 billion renovation project of Wrigley Field and the collateral land finally broke ground after winning city approval.[23]

Besides preserving Wrigley Field as promised, the objective was to also leverage the Wrigley investment to create something special for the city and the neighborhood – a public space adjacent to the stadium that would function as a town square, offering year-round attractions for neighbors, families, fans and visitors.[24]

On Opening Day of the 2017 season, with Cubs fans celebrating its first in a century role as the defending world champions of baseball, the Ricketts family delivered The Park at Wrigley. Chairman Tom Ricketts, President of business operations Crane Kenney, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, numerous elected officials, neighbors and community leaders cut the ribbon at the Park at Wrigley. To meet the team's goal of being a good neighbor, the area outside Wrigley Field had to transform into a year-round, family-friendly destination that generated economic, social and tax benefits for the area.[25]

On March 30, the Ricketts family opened their first hotel, located on Clark Street just across from the front entrance of Wrigley Field. The 173-room Hotel Zachary is the first full-scale hotel to open within a half mile of the ballpark.[26]

"By the end of the 2018 off-season and next, our initial plan [will be] complete," said Ricketts, whose family bought the team from Tribune Company in 2009. "That doesn't mean we're done, because it's a 100-year- old ballpark. There will be something else we have to fix after that. But it will be great to have the major construction done a year from now. We'll get the upper-deck renovation done after the 2018 season, and that will really help the ballpark a lot." [27]

Business historyEdit

Ricketts is the Chairman, co-founder and former CEO of Incapital LLC.[5] Ricketts spent one summer early in life working at TD Ameritrade, giving customers stock quotes over the phone. This was his only work experience with the company before being invited to join as a director later in life.[28]

Mesirow Financial and ABN AMROEdit

When Ricketts finished undergraduate studies (1988), he joined the Chicago Board Options Exchange as a market maker. Ricketts held this position until 1994, shortly after finishing his MBA. From 1995 to 1996, he served as vice president with Mesirow Financial until moving to ABN AMRO as vice president in their brokerage division.[5] Ricketts is credited with pioneering the idea of using the Internet and other technologies to help companies sell their investment-grade bonds directly to retail investors, as opposed to limiting sales only to institutions.[28][29] He helped launch the first successful version of this system while at ABN AMRO. In 1999 he left ABN AMRO to found Incapital.[5]

Incapital LLCEdit

Thomas Ricketts co-founded Chicago-based Incapital LLC in 1999.[5] The securities and investment banking firm has since expanded with two additional offices in Boca Raton, Florida and London, England.[30] Currently, Ricketts serves as Incapital Chairman.[31] Forbes describes the company as a "technologically-oriented investment bank focused exclusively on the underwriting and distribution of fixed income products to individual investors. Incapital underwrites for several major U.S. corporations through its InterNotesSM product platform." [5]

Awards and honorsEdit

  • 2016 World Series champion (as Chairman of the Chicago Cubs)[32]
  • Graaskamp Center Building Communities Award in recognition of the Cubs organization's contributions in development and positive community impact around Wrigley Field[33]
  • ULI Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award[34]
  • Lakeview East Award Best New Community Attraction - Park at Wrigley Ice Rink (as Chairman of the Chicago Cubs/Hickory Street Capital)[35]
  • ASLA Illinois Merit Award - The Park at Wrigley (as Chairman of the Chicago Cubs/Hickory Street Capital)[36]


  1. ^ a b "Front Office". Chicago Cubs. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  2. ^ "Incapital - Executive Team". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  3. ^ "Incapital - About Incapital". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  4. ^ "TD Ameritrade - Governance - Board of directors - Director bios". Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Thomas S. Ricketts". Forbes Biographies. Forbes. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  6. ^ "J. Joe Ricketts". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  7. ^ a b c "Owners approve sale of Cubs to Ricketts family". 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  8. ^ "Ricketts family is winning Cubs bidder: $900M". tribunedigital-chicagobreakingnews. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  9. ^ Haugh, David. "Ricketts must show he's engaged". Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  10. ^ Cordes, Henry J. (19 March 2006). "For Ricketts, it's about earning what you get". Omaha World-Herald. p. 1. Archived from the original on July 9, 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  11. ^ "Pete Ricketts Sworn In as Governor". January 8, 2015. Archived from the original on January 9, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  12. ^ Oneal, Michael; Tribune Staff Reporter (12 July 2007). "Roster of Cubs bidders expands Ricketts family founded Ameritrade". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  13. ^ News, A. B. C. (2018-02-01). "Chicago Cubs co-owner named Republican committee finance chair". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  14. ^ a b c d ROEDER, DAVID (24 January 2009). "Thomas Ricketts:'My family and I are Cubs fans'". Sun Times. Archived from the original on 2009-01-27. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  15. ^ "Past Award Winners". Alumni Association: Alumni, Parents, Families & Friends. 2014-12-01. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  16. ^ "Giving to Chicago | Thomas S. Ricketts". 2009-01-25. Archived from the original on 2009-01-25. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  17. ^ "Thomas S. Ricketts, AB'88, MBA'93". Giving to Chicago. University of Chicago. 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-01-25. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  18. ^ a b Gutierrez, Carl (25 January 2009). "Ricketts Wriggling Into Wrigley Field". Forbes. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  19. ^ Sachdev, Ameet; Michael Oneal (22 January 2009). "Ricketts family is winning Cubs bidder: $875M". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  20. ^
  21. ^ Associated Press (2009-10-06). "Cubs sale unanimously approved". Retrieved 2009-10-06.
  22. ^ "Ricketts takes control of the Cubs".
  23. ^ "Cubs moving forward with Wrigley restoration plan". Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  24. ^ Skrbina, Paul. "New plaza outside Wrigley Field envisioned as neighborhood's town square". Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  25. ^ "Photos: Cubs open the Park at Wrigley". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  26. ^ "First Look: Wrigleyville's New Hotel Zachary". Chicago magazine. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  27. ^ "Cubs' Wrigley Field renovations progressing". Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  28. ^ a b Carter, Adrienne (13 June 2005). "Building Bonds For The Little Guy". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  29. ^ Kruger, Daniel (4 February 2002). "At A Standstill". Forbes. p. 1. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  30. ^ "Incapital Information Page". Incapital. Archived from the original on 2002-12-08. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  31. ^ "Incapital - Executive Team". Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  32. ^ Sullivan, Paul. "Chicago Cubs win World Series championship with 8-7 victory over Cleveland Indians". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  33. ^ "Graaskamp on the Road Event Features Chicago Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  34. ^ "24th Annual Lifetime Achievement Award Dinner - ULI Chicago". ULI Chicago. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  35. ^ "LAKEVIEW EAST AWARD WINNERS". Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  36. ^ "The Park at Wrigley - ILASLA". ILASLA. Retrieved 2018-09-10.

External linksEdit