Robert Robert Day, heir to oil giant, dies at 73

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Robert Robert Day, heir to oil giant, dies at 73

After selling his asset management firm, the TCW Group, he focused primarily on philanthropy, mainly through the Keck Foundation, which his grandfather founded.

He built his own empire with the TCW Group and was an influential California contributor, including to his alma mater, Claremont McKenna College.

Robert Day, the heir to an oil fortune who founded what is now known as the TCW Group, a major asset management firm, and later became an influential philanthropist, who donated to California medical, arts and scholarly institutions. The W.M. announced his death, saying it was announced by the White House. The Keck Foundation, the philanthropic organization he chaired since 1995, is a philanthropic organization. The announcement did not detail the cause of the incident. Day built his own empire in the trust company of the West, born of wealth - his grandfather, William Myron Keck, amassed a fortune through his independent oil company, Superior Oil. The TCW Group, which was eventually renamed the TCW Group, became a major financial steward for corporate pension funds, endowments and wealthy individuals. In 2001, TCW agreed to sell its assets to Société Générale, a large French bank, for more than $1.3 billion. The former secretary of state James A. Baker III, a friend, wrote in a tribute on the website of Claremont McKenna College, Mr. Day's alma mater, after his death. After selling his company, Day focused mainly on philanthropy, mainly through the Keck Foundation, which his grandfather founded and now oversees some $1.5 billion. Robert Addison Day was born on Dec. 11, 1943 in Los Angeles, the daughter of Robert Addison Day and Willametta Keck Day. His father was a fire and harbor director who would later become president of the Los Angeles fire and harbor commissions, and his mother was a philanthropist. In 1984, her brother Howard B. Keck criticized the future of Superior Oil, causing the company to sell to Mobil for $5.7 billion. Day graduated from the Stevenson School in 1961 and from Claremont McKenna University in 1965, where he wrote his senior thesis about how to create an asset management firm. He moved to New York after college to work at the White-shoe investment bank White, Weld & Company. In 1969, he started Cypress Partners, a start-up of a hedge fund, and two years later, he founded trust company of the west with $2 million in assets under management.

TCW is a significant investor in stocks, bonds, real estate and other assets, managing money for clients such as Boeing, Xerox and the California State Teachers' Retirement System. It also produced iconic investors, including Howard Marks and Bruce Karsh, the Oaktree Capital founders, and the DoubleLine Capital founder Jeffrey Gundlach. Day was later drawn into a conflict between TCW and Mr. Gundlach, who was fired from the firm in 2010 for allegedly missing staff parties held by Mr. Day and for making too much money. Even after he sold TCW to Société Générale, which was supposed to have made him hundreds of millions of dollars, Mr. Day remained in touch with the business world. He served on the French bank's board as its first American director, as well as on the boards of Freeport-McMoRan and Fisher Scientific. And he was chairman and major shareholder of Foley Timber and Land Company, which controlled a 560,000-acre plot of land in Florida - about the size of Rhode Island -, making it one of the state's biggest landowners. Foley Timber later sold a significant portion of its holdings to Thomas Peterffy, another financial mogul.

Mr. Day's attention largely changed to philanthropy, much of it centered on Claremont McKenna, where he joined the board of trustees in 1970 and stayed on for five decades. In 2007 Mr. Day donated $500 million to the school to establish the Robert Day Scholars Program, one of the largest gifts ever given to an American college or university. The donation paved the way for the school to rename its economics department after him.

's personal, professional and philanthropic commitment to Claremont McKenna is exceptional,' said Hiram Chodosh, the school's president. In 2008, Day said of his gifts to the school that he said ''t put something back, the next generation will not have the same benefits I enjoyed. By way of the Keck Foundation - which says it has given more than six500 awards, worth $2.2 billion since 1954, Mr. Day gave to an array of other institutions. Marlyn, his wife, is survived by two sons, Joe and Jon; a daughter, DiDi Day, a brother, Matt, and several grandchildren. His brother, Lawrence and T.J. and his sister, Tammis, died before him.