Thomas S. Ricketts

Thomas S. Ricketts

Thomas S. Ricketts
Ricketts in 2012
Born (1963-05-23) May 23, 1963
Nationality American
Education University of Chicago, A.B. 1988, M.B.A. 1993
Occupation Owner of the Chicago Cubs
Director, TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
Chairman and CEO, Incapital LLC.
Salary $171,212 as Director of TD Ameritrade[1]
? as CEO of Incapital
Spouse(s) Cecelia Ricketts
Parents Joe Ricketts, Marlene Ricketts
Relatives Peter Ricketts (brother)

Thomas S. "Tom" Ricketts (born May 23, 1963) is the owner of the Chicago Cubs, and the chief executive officer of Incapital LLC, a Chicago investment bank that packages corporate bonds for retail investors. He is also a director of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation as well as the son of Ameritrade founder J. Joseph Ricketts.[1] Forbes estimate of the Ricketts' family wealth ($1 Billion), consolidated under J. Joseph Ricketts name, placed them at #371/ 400 on the Forbes 400 list.[2]

In January 2009, a Ricketts family bid led by Thomas Ricketts was chosen as the winning bidder for the Chicago Cubs. The bid was estimated to total around $900 million for the team and related assets.[3] The sale was approved unanimously by the owners of the other 29 Major League Baseball teams that October.[4] Ricketts was introduced as the chairman of the Cubs on October 31, 2009. The transaction closed in late October 2009. All four siblings (Pete, Tom, Laura, and Todd) and both parents share interest in the team through their family trust.


  • Biography 1
    • University of Chicago 1.1
  • Chicago Cubs 2
  • Business history 3
    • Mesirow Financial and ABN AMRO 3.1
    • Incapital LLC 3.2
  • External links 4
  • References 5


Ricketts and his three siblings grew up in Omaha, Nebraska.[5] His father, J. Joseph Ricketts, founded Ameritrade when Tom was 8 years old. The Ricketts' childhood is described as normal middle class, with their father working 80 hour weeks and worrying about paying bills. 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.[6]

Ricketts is the oldest of four children. His younger brother J. Peter Ricketts lives in Omaha and was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Nebraska.[5] Younger sister Laura Ricketts, a lawyer, developed and runs and serves on the board of directors of Lambda Legal.[7] Laura and Todd both live in Wilmette, Illinois. Tom Ricketts and his wife Cecelia also live with their five children in Wilmette, Illinois.

University of Chicago

In 1984, Ricketts moved from Omaha to Chicago in order to attend the University of Chicago. Just out of high school, he moved in with his older brother Peter, also a student at the University of Chicago.[8] Ricketts received a bachelors degree from the university in 1988 and returned to receive his Master of Business Administration in 1993. Ricketts' relationship with the university continued after graduation with reception of the Distinguished Young Alumni award from the university's Graduate School of Business.[9] The award is presented for, among other things, recognition of extraordinary career success, outstanding leadership, and influence in the business community to support the school and current students. In addition, as an alumnus Ricketts has been generous with donations to the university. This has included both volunteering his time and establishing an endowment for the New Year Scholarship Fund. 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.[10]

Chicago Cubs

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.[8][11] Currently under bankruptcy protection, sale of the Cubs and the 25% interest in SportsNet Chicago will raise needed funds for the Tribune company. The Ricketts family bid, headed by Thomas S. Ricketts, was selected as the winning bid on January 22, 2009.[3] The family bid includes all four siblings (Peter, Tom, Laura, and Todd) and both parents. Forbes estimates that the ownership stake in the Chicago Cubs represents $642.0 million out of the total $900.0 million bid made by Ricketts.[11]

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 university. 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".[8] The bid was reviewed by Major League Baseball and other stake holders. Although several close friends told the press about Ricketts' deep love for the Cubs, the Ricketts family decided not to court media attention until the bid was accepted by all parties.[8]

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.[12] Final approval came by a unanimous vote of the other MLB owners in an October 6, 2009 conference call.[4] 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.[13]

Business history

Ricketts in 2011

With his father J. Joseph Ricketts and his brother J. Peter Ricketts, Thomas Ricketts currently serves as a director of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. In addition he serves as chairman and CEO of Incapital LLC.[1] 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.[14] Ricketts found business success outside of his father's company.

Mesirow Financial and ABN AMRO

Ricketts' future success in business became apparent the same year he finished undergraduate studies (1988) when 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.[1] Ricketts is credited with pioneering the idea of using of 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.[14][15] He helped launch the first successful version of this system while at ABN AMRO. In 1999 he left ABN AMRO to found Incapital.[1]

Incapital LLC

Ricketts co-founded Chicago-based Incapital LLC in 1999.[1] The securities and investment banking firm has since expanded with two additional offices in Boca Raton, Florida and London, England.[16] Currently, Ricketts serves as Incapital chairman and chief executive officer. 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".[1]

External links



  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Thomas S. Ricketts". Forbes Biographies ( 
  2. ^ "#371 J. Joseph Ricketts - The Forbes 400 Richest Americans 2009". Forbes. 30 September 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Sachdev, Ameet; Michael Oneal (22 January 2009). "Ricketts family is winning Cubs bidder: $900M".  
  4. ^ a b Associated Press (2009-10-06). "Cubs sale unanimously approved". Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  5. ^ a b Oneal, Michael; Tribune Staff Reporter (12 July 2007). "Roster of Cubs bidders expands Ricketts family founded Ameritrade".  
  6. ^ Cordes, Henry J. (19 March 2006). "For Ricketts, it's about earning what you get".  
  7. ^ "Lambda Legal Board of Directors and National Leadership Council".  
  8. ^ a b c d ROEDER, DAVID (24 January 2009). "'"Thomas Ricketts:'My family and I are Cubs fans.  
  9. ^ "Peter Ricketts AB '86, MBA '91 and Thomas Ricketts, AB '87, MBA '93 to serve on board of newly-merged TD Ameritrade". Chicago Booth News. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  10. ^ "Thomas S. Ricketts, AB’88, MBA’93". Giving to Chicago.  
  11. ^ a b Gutierrez, Carl (25 January 2009). "Ricketts Wriggling Into Wrigley Field".  
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Ricketts takes control of the Cubs". 
  14. ^ a b Carter, Adrienne (13 June 2005). "Building Bonds For The Little Guy".  
  15. ^ Kruger, Daniel (4 February 2002). "At A Standstill".  
  16. ^ "Incapital Information Page". Incapital. Retrieved 2009-01-30.