Casablanca Capital Founder Drapkin Dies In Ski Accident

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Donald Drapkin, chairman of activist hedge fund Casablanca Capital, has died aged 67 following a ski accident in Aspen, Colorado.

Drapkin famously feuded with Ronald Perelman, his former business partner. He was admitted to hospital following a ski accident suffered on February 15, and later died as the result of a brain injury, according to Bloomberg.

Former Casablanca Capital chairman won huge settlement against Perelman

Under his leadership the New York-based firm Casablanca pushed for turnarounds at iron-ore producer Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. and electronics company Mentor Graphics Corp. In 2012 Drapkin won $16 million as the result of a breach of contract dispute with MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., his former employer.

Drapkin sued Perelman’s company in 2009 for violating a separation agreement. He claimed he should have received severance and stock. Perelman hired Drapkin in 1987 but their relationship grew steadily worse. By 2006 Drapkin was receiving a far smaller salary and had far less responsibility at the company.

“I was best friends with my partner for 25 years,” Drapkin said of his relationship with Perelman after the 2012 judgment, according to CNBC. “I mourn the loss of that friendship.” After hearing the verdict the two men agreed to an out of court settlement.

Active philanthropist Drapkin dies after ski accident

According to a family spokeswoman, Donald Guy Drapkin was born March 1 1948 and grew up in Queens, New York. He studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree at Brandeis University and later graduated from Columbia Law School in New York.

His first job as a lawyer came at the firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore in 1971., said a profile on the Casablanca website. In 1977 he moved to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a firm which specializes in mergers and acqusitions, where he became a partner.

“Don was a cherished friend and valued partner to all of us, and we are profoundly saddened by this loss,” Casablanca said in an e-mailed statement. “We will remember him with deep fondness.”

Drapkin spent his time between Aspen and New York, and was an active philanthropist. In his later years he was a board member of the Lincoln Center Theater, in New York, and the Aspen Music Festival and School, in Colorado.

He is survived by partner Sue Hostetler, former wife Bernice Drapkin, children Matthew Drapkin, Dana Drapkin Baumgarten, Nicole Drapkin Schaffer, David Drapkin and Amanda Drapkin.

Below is Drapkin’s full profile

Donald Drapkin is Chairman, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Casablanca Capital. Most recently, Mr. Drapkin was Vice Chairman of Lazard International and Chairman of Lazard’s Investment Committee and Chairman and CEO of Sapphire Industrials. Prior to joining Lazard in 2007, Mr. Drapkin was Vice Chairman and Director of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings and held similar positions with various affiliates from 1987 to 2007. From 1977 to 1987, Mr. Drapkin was a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. He began his career as an associate with the firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore from 1971 to 1977. Mr. Drapkin holds a JD from Columbia Law School and a BA from Brandeis University. Mr. Drapkin currently serves on the Board of Directors of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers and has previously served on the Board of other public companies, including Molson and Revlon. He served as the Co-Chairman of the New York Special Olympics Annual Metro Tournaments and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Brandeis University, Lincoln Center Theater and is a member of the Dean’s Council of Columbia Law School.

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