Rochester, N.Y. native Robert Agostinelli earned his MBA at Columbia University before a stint at Rothschild. Joining Goldman Sachs in 1982, he contributed to the founding of the bank's international M&A business before departing the firm as a senior partner for Lazard in 1987. Together with partner Steven Langman, Agostinelli struck out on his own in 1995 with the founding of New York-based private equity shop Rhone Group.
The outfit, of which Agostinelli owns approximately 50%, now manages approximately $8.5 billion. Agostinelli is a supporter of numerous right-wing causes and a founding member of the Friends of Israel Initiative and the Council on Foreign Relations. He counts Nicolas Sarkozy, George Bush and José María Aznar as close friends. While based in New York, he maintains homes in London and Paris and is a collector of wine and art.