Biography of Michael Bloomberg, American Businessman and Politician

Democratic Presidential Candidate Mike Bloomberg Campaigns Ahead Of Super Tuesday
Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during a Fox News town hall held at the Hilton Performing Arts Center at George Mason on March 2, 2020 in Manassas, VA. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg (born February 14, 1942) is an American businessman, philanthropist, and politician. From 2002 to 2013, he served as the 108th mayor of New York City, and in November 2019 announced his candidacy for the 2020 United States presidential election, before suspending his bid on March 4, 2020. As the co-founder, CEO, and majority owner of Bloomberg L.P., Bloomberg had a reported net worth of $54.1 billion as of November 2019.

Fast Facts: Michael Bloomberg

  • Known For: Business mogul, three-term mayor of New York City, and 2020 presidential candidate
  • Born: February 14, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Parents: William Henry Bloomberg and Charlotte (Rubens) Bloomberg
  • Education: Johns Hopkins University (BS), Harvard Business School (MBA)
  • Published Works: Bloomberg by Bloomberg
  • Spouse: Susan Brown (divorced 1993)
  • Domestic Partner: Diana Taylor
  • Children: Emma and Georgina
  • Notable Quote: “What you’ve got to do is be honest. Say what you believe. Give it to them straight. Just don’t wuss out.”

Childhood, Education, and Family Life

Michael Rubens Bloomberg was born on February 14, 1942, in Boston, Massachusetts, to William Henry Bloomberg and Charlotte (Rubens) Bloomberg. His paternal and maternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Russia and Belarus. The Jewish family lived briefly in Allston and Brookline, until settling in Medford, Massachusetts, where they lived until Michael had graduated from college.

Putting himself through college, Bloomberg attended Johns Hopkins University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1964. In 1966 he graduated from Harvard Business School with a Master of Business Administration.

In 1975, Bloomberg married British national Susan Brown. The couple had two daughters, Emma and Georgina. Bloomberg divorced Brown in 1993 but has said that they remain friends. Since 2000, Bloomberg has been in a domestic partner relationship with former New York State superintendent of banking Diana Taylor.

Bloomberg Sworn In
Georgina and Emma Bloomberg join their father Michael Bloomberg on stage during his inauguration as the 108th Mayor of New York City January 1, 2002 at City Hall in New York. Getty Images / Getty Images

Business Career, Bloomberg L.P.

Bloomberg began his Wall Street career at the investment banking firm Salomon Brothers, becoming a general partner in 1973. When Salomon Brothers was bought out in 1981, Bloomberg was laid off. Though he had received no severance package, he used his $10 million worth of Salomon Brothers stock equity to start his own computer-based business information firm called Innovative Market Systems. The company was renamed Bloomberg L.P. in 1987. With Bloomberg as CEO, Bloomberg L.P. proved enormously successful and soon branched into the mass media industry, launching Bloomberg News and the Bloomberg Radio Network.

Michael Bloomberg Portrait
Michael Bloomberg, founder and president of Bloomberg LP, a communications and media company, pses for a portrait at his company's television studios October 1994 in New York City. Rita Barros / Getty Images

From 2001 to 2013, Bloomberg left his position as CEO of Bloomberg L.P. to serve three consecutive terms as the 108th mayor of New York City. After completing his final term as mayor, Bloomberg focused on philanthropy until returning to Bloomberg L.P. as CEO at the end of 2014.

Between 2007 and 2009, Bloomberg had moved from 142nd to 17th in the Forbes list of the world's billionaires, with a reported wealth of $16 billion. As of November 2019, Forbes listed Bloomberg as the 8th wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of $54.1 billion.

Mayor of New York City

In November 2001, Bloomberg was elected to the first of three consecutive terms as the 108th mayor of New York City. Calling himself a liberal Republican, Bloomberg supported abortion rights and the legalization of same-sex marriage. He won a narrow victory over his opponent Mark J. Green, in an election held mere weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Incumbent Republican mayor Rudy Giuliani, though popular, had been ineligible to run for re-election due to the city’s law limiting mayors to serving no more than two consecutive terms. Giuliani supported Bloomberg during the campaign.

Gay Pride Parade in New York
New York City mayoral candidate and financial media mogul Michael Bloomberg marches June 24, 2001 in New York City''s 31st annual Lesbian and Gay Pride March. Composed of over 250,000 marchers and more than 300 marching contingents, the parade has become the world''s oldest and largest annually occurring gay and lesbian event in the world. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

One of the most popular programs Bloomberg undertook during his first term was a 3-1-1 telephone line to which New Yorkers could report crimes, missed trash pickups, road and traffic problems, or other issues. In November 2005, Bloomberg was easily re-elected mayor of New York City. Defeating Democrat Fernando Ferrer by a margin of 20%, Bloomberg spent almost $78 million of his own money on the campaign.

In 2006, Bloomberg joined with Boston mayor Thomas Menino in co-founding Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan coalition of over 1,000 mayors. He also increased the city’s mandatory minimum sentence for illegal possession of a loaded handgun. Bloomberg was also a leading proponent of the New York Police Department’s gun-related stop-and-frisk policy, saying it reduced the city’s murder rate. However, on November 17, 2019, while speaking at Brooklyn's Christian Cultural Center, he apologized for supporting the controversial policy.

NY City Council Votes On NYPD Oversight
Critics of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) stop-and-frisk policy watch deliberations moments before City Council members voted to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg's vetoes to establish an inspector general for the New York Police Department (NYPD) weeks after a federal judge ruled that the NYPD violated the civil rights of minorities with their stop-and-frisk policy on August 22, 2013 in New York City. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

On Earth Day, April 22, 2007, Bloomberg launched PlaNYC, an ambitious initiative to combat the effects of climate change and protect the environment in order to prepare for the 1 million additional people expected to live in the city by the year 2030. By 2013, New York City had reduced its citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 19% and was on its way to meeting PlaNYC’s goal of a 30% reduction by 2030. Less than a year after PlaNYC was announced, over 97% of the plan’s 127 initiatives had been launched and nearly two-thirds of its goals for 2009 had been achieved. In October 2007, Bloomberg launched the Million Trees NYC initiative with a goal of planting one million trees by 2017. In November 2015, two years ahead of schedule, the city had succeeded in planting its one-millionth new tree.

In 2008, Bloomberg succeeded in pushing through a controversial bill that extended the city’s two-term limit law, allowing him to run for a third term as mayor. Bloomberg argued that his financial skills made him uniquely capable of dealing with the economic challenges facing New Yorkers after the great recession of 2007-08. “Handling this financial crisis while strengthening essential services ... is a challenge I want to take on,” Bloomberg said at the time, asking New Yorkers to “decide if I have earned another term.” This time running as an independent, and spending nearly $90 million of his own money campaigning, Bloomberg was elected to an unprecedented third term as mayor in November 2009.

Mayor Bloomberg Opens Campaign Offices Across The City
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) is greeted by supporters as he speaks in his newly-opened Queens Campaign office on March 28, 2009 in the Queens borough of New York City. Chris Hondros / Getty Images

During his years as mayor, Bloomberg—calling himself a fiscal conservative—turned New York City’s $6-billion deficit into a $3-billion surplus. However, conservative groups criticized him for raising property taxes and increasing spending in doing so. While he had raised property taxes to fund already budgeted projects, in 2007, he proposed a 5% cut in property taxes and to eliminate the city’s sales tax on clothing and footwear.

When Bloomberg’s final term as mayor ended on December 31, 2013, the New York Times wrote, “New York is once again a thriving, appealing city where ... the crime rate is down, the transportation system is more efficient, the environment is cleaner.”

Presidential Aspirations

In June 2007, during his second term as mayor of New York City, Bloomberg left the Republican Party and registered as an independent after giving a speech in which he criticized the Washington establishment for what he considered its lack of bipartisan political cooperation.

In both the 2008 and 2012 U.S. presidential elections, Bloomberg was often mentioned as a possible candidate. Despite independent “Draft Michael Bloomberg” efforts before both elections, he decided not to run, choosing to continue serving as the mayor of New York City.

In the 2004 presidential election, Bloomberg endorsed Republican George W. Bush. However, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, he endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president in the 2012 election, citing Obama's support for countering the effects of climate change.

Democratic National Convention: Day Three
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivers remarks on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Alex Wong / Getty Images

Prior to the 2016 presidential election, Bloomberg considered running as a third party candidate, but announced he would not do so. On July 27, 2016, speaking at the Democratic National Convention, he expressed his support for Hillary Clinton and revealed his dislike for her Republican opponent, Donald Trump. “There are times when I disagree with Hillary Clinton,” he said. “But let me tell you, whatever our disagreements may be, I've come here to say: We must put them aside for the good of our country. And we must unite around the candidate who can defeat a dangerous demagogue.”

2020 Presidential Candidacy

In 2019, Bloomberg found himself gaining support among people who opposed President Trump’s policies, especially those dealing with climate change. After Trump’s June 2017 announcement of the withdrawal of the U.S. from the United Nation’s Paris Agreement and its Kyoto Protocol on climate change, Bloomberg announced that his Bloomberg Philanthropies would donate up to $15 million to make up for the loss of America’s backing. In October 2018, Bloomberg officially changed his political party affiliation from independent back to Democrat.

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks during on his gun safety policy agenda
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks during on his gun safety policy agenda. Michael Ciaglo / Getty Images

In March 2019, Bloomberg Philanthropies launched Beyond Carbon, a project to “retire every single coal-fired power plant over the next 11 years,” and to “begin moving America as quickly as possible away from oil and gas and toward a 100% clean energy economy.”

After first ruling out a 2020 presidential run, Bloomberg filed papers to run in the Alabama Democratic presidential primary election, and on November 24, 2019, formally announced his candidacy for president. “Defeating Donald Trump and rebuilding America is the most urgent and important fight of our lives. And I’m going all in,” he said in announcing his candidacy. “I offer myself as a doer and a problem solver—not a talker. And someone who is ready to take on the tough fights—and win." Bloomberg withdrew his candidacy on March 4, 2020, after disappointing results during Super Tuesday's primaries.

Notable Awards and Honors

Over the years, Michael Bloomberg has received honorary advanced degrees from several major universities, including the Yale School of Management, Tufts University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University.

Time Magazine Top 100 Most Influential People Party
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and partner Diana Taylor at Time magazine's Top 100 Most Influential People party. FilmMagic / Getty Images

In 2007 and 2008, Time magazine named Bloomberg the 39th most influential person on its Time 100 list. In 2009, he received the Healthy Communities Leadership Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for his efforts as mayor to give New Yorkers easier access to healthy foods and physical activity. The Jefferson Awards Foundation awarded Bloomberg its annual U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official in 2010.

On October 6, 2014, Bloomberg was made an honorary knight of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his “prodigious entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors, and the many ways in which they have benefited the United Kingdom and the U.K.-U.S. special relationship.”

Sources and Further Reference

  • Bloomberg, Michael. “Bloomberg by Bloomberg.” John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1997.
  • Randolph, Eleanor. “The Many Lives of Michael Bloomberg.” Simon & Schuster, September 10, 2019.
  • Purnick, Joyce. “Mike Bloomberg.” The New York Times, October 9, 2009, https://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/books/excerpt-mike-bloomberg.html.
  • Farrell, Andrew. "Billionaires Who Made Billions More.” Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/2009/03/10/made-millions-worlds-richest-people-billionaires-2009-billionaires-gainer_slide.html.
  • Foussianes, Chloe. “Michael Bloomberg's Net Worth Ranks Him Among the World's Top Billionaires.” Town and Country. Nov. 26, 2019, https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/money-and-power/a25781489/michael-bloomberg-net-worth/.
  • Cranley, Ellen. “Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg officially announces he's running for president.” Business Insider, Nov. 24, 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/mike-bloomberg-running-for-president-billionaire-former-nyc-mayor-2019-11.
  • Sanchez, Raf. “Michael Bloomberg knighted by the Queen - just don't call him Sir Mike.” The Telegraph, Oct. 6, 2014, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11143702/Michael-Bloomberg-knighted-by-the-Queen-just-dont-call-him-Sir-Mike.html.