How David Tepper Got His Billions

On this day, September 11 in the year 1957, the co-founder of Appaloosa Management was born in Pennsylvania, United States. His name is David Alan Tepper, one of the most successful hedge fund managers in the world. According to, his net worth is $13 billion as of September, 2020.

David Tepper
David Tepper (Credit:

David Tepper was the second of three children of Harry, an accountant and Roberta, a school teacher. As a child, he immersed himself in mathematics and statistics. His father encouraged him to learn the basics of investing and while in high school, he bought his first stock – 100 shares of Career Academies for $2 apiece. He went on to receive his economics degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his MBA from Carnegie-Mellon University. He had experience working as an analyst at Equibank, Republic Steel, Keystone Fund, and Goldman Sachs. He was one of the boys who exploited the junk bond boom in the 1980s.

In 1992, David Tepper left Goldman to trade for his own account. Along with Jack Walton, he then formed Appaloosa Management with $57 million as initial funding. At the end of 1996, the fund soared to $800 million. One of his best years was in 2009 when he made $7 billion for his fund and pocketed $4 billion for himself. At present, the company has $13 billion assets under management, down from a peak of $20 billion.

David’s investing strategy is centered on distressed asset. One of his first targets was Algoma Steel, a near bankrupt company in 1993. Other distressed companies whose stocks he bought and sold at huge profits were Pacific Gas and Electric (PCG), Edison International (EIX), Enron, WorldCom, MCI, Mirant, and Marconi. Then he invested in sovereign debts such as those of Argentina and Russia. He also traded some currencies like the Korean Won.
David has three children with his former wife Marlene whom he divorced in 2014.


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