Ken Langone is a financial backer and cofounder of Home Depot. He is also the former director of the New York Stock Exchange and an active philanthropist. In 1961, he took an interest in Wall Street and became an associate at R.W. Pressprich & Co., soon becoming Executive VP. His career in business caught the attention of the public when he joined Texas businessman Ross Perot and his start-up company, Electronic Data Systems (EDS). He took EDS public in 1968 and was promoted to President and COO of the company. In 1974, Mr. Langone founded Invemed Associates, Inc., a small Park Avenue investment bank founded to finance start-ups in the medical field. Also in 1974, he bought his first seat on the New York Stock Exchange. A year later, he made a substantial profit for a medical electronics company called Ivac, which he later took over and sold to Eli Lilly in 1977. This business deal resulted in Eli Lilly’s medical instruments division, which has grown into a multibillion dollar division. He has since become one of Eli Lilly’s largest shareholders. Mr. Langone then became interested in a home improvement business called Handy Dan. Before investing, he personally inspected every Handy Dan establishment. Through this venture, he established a business relationship and friendship with Handy Dan’s CEO, Bernard Marcus. Mr. Langone, Bernard Marcus, and Arthur Blank went on to found their own home improvement store, Home Depot. The first Home Depot opened in Atlanta in 1978.