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John W. Rogers launched Ariel Investments in 1983 after working as a stockbroker for 2.5 years at William Blair & Company, LLC. In 2008, John was awarded Princeton University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented each year to the alumni whose career embodies a commitment to national service. He received an AB in economics from Princeton University where he served as captain of the 1979-80 Ivy League co-champion Princeton Tigers men's basketball team.

By Forbes’ calculation Rogers' picks gained 25% in 2010, outperforming the S&P 500's 15% gain. In a Forbes article dated 9 February 2011, he expressed his views on 2011 outlook as follows:

"I am optimistic about the economy and the stock market in 2011 -- although my expectations are more tempered than before. The management teams I talk to every day have real conviction that their businesses have stabilized and are growing."

According to 13F filings, Rogers' Ariel Investments has had at least 113 securities with a total value of $5.3 billion as of December 31st 2010. In the last quarter of 2010, he sold 4 securities and bought 6 new securities. The stocks that Rogers sold in the last quarter were Covidien (NYSE:COV), Gulf Island Fabrication (NASDAQ:GIFI), MB Financial (NASDAQ:MBFI) and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS). Roberto Mignone's Bridger Management and David Tepper's Appaloosa are among the prominent hedge funds with COV holdings. Covidien gained more than 15% in 2011, so it was an ill-timed sale for Rogers. However, his new picks performed better than the market.

Here are Rogers' new stock picks:

New Holdings

Stock

Value in Millions (USD)
As of Dec 31,2010

Return
Since Dec 31,2010

Beckman Coulter, Inc. (NYSE:BEC)

62.1

10.6%

Landec Corp. (NASDAQ:LNDC)

1.4

1.8%

Imation Corp. (NYSE:IMN)

0.9

11.1%

Gaiam, Inc. (NASDAQ:GAIA)

0.8

-1.2%

Market Leader, Inc. (NASDAQ:LEDR)

0.7

44.9%

Astro-Med, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALOT)

0.2

-2.4%

Value Weighted Return of New Holdings

66

10.6%

SPY

N/A

5.3%

Three of Rogers' new positions managed to beat the market. Rogers' new stock picks have gained 10.6% since the end of 2010, vs. 5.3% gain for the SPY. BEC was Rogers' biggest new investment at the end of December 2010. BEC has gained 10.6% since then, outperforming the SPY’s 5.3% return. Rogers has $62.1 million invested in BEC. Andreas Halvorsen's Viking Global also bought BEC shares during the last quarter of 2010. LEDR has had one of the best performances in his portfolio since the end of December. Rogers had only $0.7 million in LEDR shares at the end of December. LEDR has gained 44.9% in the last 70 days, beating the SPY by a large margin. The worst performing stock among the new purchases was ALOT, losing 2.4% since the end of December.

We think it’s more appropriate to check out Rogers' 15 largest positions to understand more about his performance. Here are the results:

Top Fifteen Holdings

Stock

Value in Millions (USD)
As of Dec 31,2010

Return
Since Dec 31,2010

Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI)

220.1

7.7%

CBS Corp. (NYSE:CBS)

189.4

26.4%

Lazard Ltd (NYSE:LAZ)

185.0

10.1%

DeVry Inc. (NYSE:DV)

183.7

10.4%

Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (NYSE:JLL)

183.7

17.9%

Janus Capital Group Inc. (NYSE:JNS)

180.2

-2.0%

Mohawk Industries, Inc. (NYSE:MHK)

171.4

4.2%

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:BIO)

154.8

12.6%

Interpublic Group of Cos., Inc. (NYSE:IPG)

152.6

23.7%

International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT)

144.9

-6.6%

Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (NYSE:SWK)

144.0

15.6%

CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG)

139.9

29.8%

Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF)

126.3

2.4%

Dun & Bradstreet Corp. (NYSE:DNB)

122.0

-1.7%

J.M. Smucker Co. (NYSE:SJM)

111.4

8.6%

Value Weighted Return of Top 15 Holdings

2,409

10.9%

SPY

N/A

5.3%

Ten of Rogers’ top 15 positions managed to beat the market.

Rogers’ largest stock picks have gained 10.9% since the end of 2010, vs. 5.3% gain for the SPY. CBG has had one of the best performances in his portfolio since the end of December. Rogers had $139.9 million in CBG shares at the end of December. CBG has gained 29.8% in the last 70 days, beating the SPY by 24.5 percentage points. GCI was Rogers' biggest investment at the end of December 2010. GCI has gained 7.7% since then, outperforming the SPY’s 5.3% return. Rogers has $220 million invested in GCI. Warren Buffet also had nearly $26 million in GCI.

Return of Top 10 Long Term Holdings in Last 5 Years

Stock

Value in Millions (USD)
As of Dec 31,2010

Return
Since Mar 03,2006

DeVry Inc. (DV)

183.7

122.2%

Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL)

183.7

51.6%

Janus Capital Group Inc. (JNS)

180.2

-40.9%

Mohawk Industries, Inc. (MHK)

171.4

-31.9%

Interpublic Group of Cos., Inc. (IPG)

152.6

30.0%

Dun & Bradstreet Corp. (DNB)

122.0

15.2%

J.M. Smucker Co. (SJM)

111.4

100.4%

IDEX Corp. (NYSE:IEX)

104.8

43.6%

Interface, Inc. (IFSIA)

100.1

41.3%

Brady Corp. (NYSE:BRC)

91.6

10.9%

Average Return

1,401

34.2%

SPY

N/A

13.0%

The above table shows the performance of Rogers' top 10 long-term stock holdings. Rogers' largest investment over the last five years is DV. DV has returned almost 122% since March 2006, beating the market by a large margin. Rogers' largest long term holdings have gained 34.2% since March 2006. Considering SPY’s 13.0% return, Rogers' long term picks are extremely successful. This underlines Rogers' talent in picking long term winners.

Source: John Rogers' Contrarian Bets Beat Most Hedge Funds in 2010