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Bridgewater’s co-chief executive Eileen Murray to leave hedge fund

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Via Financial Times

Bridgewater’s co-chief executive Eileen Murray is exiting the giant hedge fund, leaving former Treasury official David McCormick in charge of the $160bn investment group founded by Ray Dalio after a longstanding, convoluted succession drama.

There has been a rotating cast of senior executives vying to run the Connecticut-based money manager shaped in Mr Dalio’s idiosyncratic image in recent years, leading to a series of promotions, demotions and exits.

Ms Murray, a former senior Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse executive, first took over as co-chief executive in 2013, alongside Mr Dalio’s heir-apparent Greg Jensen.

But in 2016 Mr Jensen’s co-chief executive title was handed to Apple executive Jon Rubinstein, after reports of clashes with his mentor, but he remained as co-chief investment officer alongside Mr Dalio and Bob Prince, a Bridgewater veteran.

Mr Rubinstein lasted less than a year at the famously iconoclastic hedge fund, stepping down in 2017 after “mutually agree(ing) that he is not a cultural fit”, Mr Dalio said at the time.

The former Apple executive nicknamed “The Podfather” for his role in launching the iPod was replaced by Mr McCormick, who at the time had been linked with a senior role in the Trump administration.

In that shake-up, Mr Dalio also relinquished many of his management responsibilities to focus on his jobs as co-chairman and co-CIO of the hedge fund. The latest reshuffle will see Ms Murray leave in the first quarter of 2020, at which time Mr McCormick will be Bridgewater’s sole chief executive.

“It is a remarkable thing when a founder who built a company over a number of decades can successfully transition the company to the next generation,” Mr Dalio said in a statement.

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David McCormick, President, Bridgewater Associates, speaks on a panel at the annual Skybridge Alternatives Conference (SALT) in Las Vegas May 7, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking - GF10000087221
David McCormick © Reuters

“Eileen Murray was key to that. Now that we have made that transition, Eileen wants to move on to something new and to make room for others. I can’t possibly express how grateful I am to her for helping us get to this point. I expect that she will always be a close friend.”

Despite a more muddled post-crisis performance, Bridgewater is the best-performing hedge fund of all time, having returned $57.8bn in net gains since its inception, according to LCH Investments, the fund of hedge funds run by the Edmond de Rothschild group. The closest runner-up is George Soros, who has made $43.9bn since 1973.

Mr McCormick, a West Point graduate who served in the Gulf war before taking a PhD in international affairs at Princeton, joined Bridgewater in 2009 after a stint as the US Treasury’s under-secretary for international affairs under president George Bush.

He has focused on the business development side of Bridgewater, leaving its investing activities to its trio of co-CIOs, Messrs Dalio, Jensen and Prince. Mr McCormack is a relative newcomer to the hedge fund compared to that troika, but “has done an excellent job leading the company through the last two and a half years as co-CEO,” Mr Dalio said.

Ms Murray, who was linked to the top job at Wells Fargo before the bank hired Charles Scharf this autumn, said that “with the firm’s management transition on solid footing, I feel now is a good time for me to leave Bridgewater to pursue other opportunities”. 

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