Craig McCaw Net Worth, Biography and Career

admin April 23, 2022
Updated 2022/04/23 at 9:37 AM
Craig McCaw Net Worth

Craig McCaw Net Worth     $2 Billion

Popular Name:Craig McCaw
Real Name:Craig McCaw
Birth Date:August 11, 1949
Birth Place:
Centralia, Washington, United States
Marital Status:Divorced
Wendy Petrak ​(m. 1974; div. 1997)​
Susan Rasinski ​(m. 1998; div. 2019)
Years active:N/A
Net Worth:$2 Billion
Last Updated:2022


Mr. Craig McCaw is an American businessman, telecommunications entrepreneur, and investor. At the present time, he is the chairman and chief executive officer of Eagle River Inc., a dedicated company that is fully focused on strategic investments in the communications industry.

His track record shows that he has built and invested in many companies over the three decades in the cellular telephone, cable, and wireless broadband industries. Mr. Craig formerly served as the chairman and chief executive officer of McCaw Cellular Communications, a firm that he successfully built into the leading provider of cellular services in the United States, and eventually sold to AT&T Corporation in 1996.

Following the sale of McCaw Cellular, the businessman restructured Nextel Communications and founded Nextel International. He also co-founded Nextel Partners. In 2003, he co-founded the wireless broadband company Clearwire Corporation and served as its chairman and chief executive officer.

In addition to the aforementioned, he currently maintains the post of the president of The COM Family Foundation, an organization that supports a variety of educational and international economic development projects. Likewise, he served as the principal funder and chair of the Free Willy Keiko Foundation and also established the Grameen Technology Center. More details follow below.

Early Life: Childhood & Education

Often considered a pioneer in the cellular phone industry, Mr. Craig McCaw was born on August 11, 1949, in Centralia, Washington, the US, as the second of four sons of John Elroy McCaw.

He attended the Lakeside School, where he later received a Lakeside Distinguished Alumni Award. He also attended Stanford University.

Professional Life: Business Career

Craig McCaw’s father, Elroy, was a broadcasting tycoon and owner of Gotham Broadcasting Corporation and was in the business of buying and selling television and radio stations, which brought in cash but also incurred huge debts.

Elroy entered the cable TV business in the 1960s, and all four of his sons worked as door-to-door salesmen and linemen. When he died, only one of his companies, the small Centralia cable company, wasn’t sold to repay his debts.

In his senior year at Stanford, Craig McCaw took control of the cable company which had less than 4000 subscribers at the time and set out to rebuild his family name.

With the cash flows from his small cable company, he purchased other remote cable companies, leading to a profitable conglomerate. By the 1980s, his McCaw Cablevision was the nation’s 20th largest cable carrier

Using the same tactic he had used in cable television, Craig McCaw financed a cellular expansion after buying up the cellular interests of some investors by borrowing against and selling stakes in the cable operation.

Through continued borrowing and careful management of the most useful licenses, McCaw’s operation was put in the position of a competitive cellular carrier before the landline telephone industry took serious notice of the industry.

After acquiring MCI’s cellular arm in 1986, Craig and his brothers sold the cable company for an undisclosed amount to Cooke Cablevision.

Craig McCaw was the highest-paid chief executive officer in the United States in 1990. In 1994, AT&T Corporation purchased McCaw Cellular from the McCaw brothers for $11.5 billion, and the company was renamed AT&T Wireless. It was later sold to Cingular in 2004 to become the largest wireless carrier in the United States.

Up next, Mr. McCaw took interest in Nextel, a floundering wireless carrier at the time. Within four years Nextel grew to become a challenging wireless competitor in America, servicing 3.6 million customers and ten of the largest international markets.

In 1999 McCaw started Nextel Partners, Inc. which was later purchased by Sprint Nextel for $6.5 billion in 2006, following a merger between Nextel and the Sprint Corporation.

Other business ventures he is known for include NEXTLINK Communications, which he founded with his eyes set on entering the internet service provider market. In 2000, the company merged with Concentric Network and became known as XO Communications. Two years later, the company filed for bankruptcy protection.

Craig McCaw and Bill Gates founded Teledesic in 1994, with an ambitious plan to set up a broadband satellite communications system with an estimated 300 low Earth orbit satellites. In 2002, the company halted satellite production and sold its spectrum licenses the following year.

In August 2004, the businessman founded Clearwire Corporation, a provider of broadband Internet services. At the end of 2007, the company offered service in 46 markets in America as well as four markets in Europe. McCaw served as chairman of Clearwire until December 31, 2010.

Asides from his business interests in investments, this billionaire businessman is concerned with other endeavors primarily concerned with philanthropy and positions of authority within several noteworthy organizations.

He currently serves on the boards of the Friends of Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, and The Nature Conservancy.

He sits on the Board of Overseers for the Hoover Institution and serves as the president of the Craig and Susan McCaw Foundation. To also include, he has equally served on the boards of the Academy of Achievement, the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, the Grameen Technology Center, and Conservation International.

Achievements: Awards & Honors

Craig McCaw received a Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1989. In the year 2000, he joined the Wireless History Foundation’s Hall of Fame. He was also recognized as a Silicon Valley Forum’s Visionary Honoree in 2007. His alma mater, the Lakeside School, once honored him with the Lakeside Distinguished Alumni Award.

Personal Life: Marriage, Children, Private Interests

McCaw was previously married to a California newspaper publisher named Wendy McCaw. They divorced in 1997 and he married Susan Rasinski McCaw, an investment banker who once served as United States Ambassador to Austria.

He is the father of three children.

McCaw is a noteworthy car collector. It is said that he once amassed a collection of 400 exotic cars with his brother, Bruce.

Craig McCaw Net Worth: Salary, Income Sources, Assets

Although he was formerly listed on Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, Mr. Craig McCaw has since fallen off the ranks as his wealth has been cut down by various causes in the past years.

The American businessman currently has a net worth of 2 billion dollars, enough to rank him among the 200 wealthiest people in Washington. His divorce from his first wife, Wendy McCaw, is registered as one of the most expensive divorces ever after she bagged a $460 million settlement.

The primary cause of his success is his devotion to work, which is clearly evident in the way he took over his family’s struggling broadcasting company and rebuilt and repackaged it into one of the biggest names in business in the United States. At one point, he was identified as the highest chief executive officer in the United States.

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