: Capitalism: Written by colingreene : 12-02-2014
Kenneth C. Griffin is the founder and CEO of Chicago-based Citadel LLC, serving as the company’s hedge fund manager. Citadel, one of the world’s largest hedge funds, has assets under management estimated at $14 billion, with Griffin leading the charge since the company was founded in 1990.
Griffin’s foray into high finance essentially began while still a student at Harvard University. Studying Economics, he would make trades between classes, having started 2 funds from his own dormitory room.
Graduating from Harvard in 1989 with an Economics degree, Griffin caught the eye of Glenwood Capital founder Frank C. Meyer, an investor who was interested in Griffin’s investments, and their subsequent rate of returns. Providing Griffin with $1 million to invest, Meyer realized a 70% return on investment, exceeding his expectations on the investment. Griffin was then on his way, and has continued that success with more recent investments.
With Citadel’s explosive growth and continued dominance in hedge funds on a global scale, Griffin has been able to realize a significant personal income stream. With a reported annual salary exceeding $700 million, his net worth is estimated at $5.5 billion, which ranks him 89th on Forbe’s list of richest Americans.
As busy as Griffin is at Citadel, he does spend time pursuing other passions in his busy life, and is frequently called upon for major news networks, with regards to the American economy.
A libertarian who favors economic policies put in place by the Reagan Administration, his disillusionment of current Illinois fiscal policy led him to contribute a record $2.5 million to the GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, who went on to win the Governor’s seat in November 2014. Other noted Republicans that Griffin has made contributions to include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
Griffin’s philanthropy efforts in the community are well noted. He’s a member of several philanthropic boards, which include several organizations in Chicago. A big proponent of charter schools, Griffin and his wife, along with the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, opened Woodlawn High School, a new charter school in Chicago, in October 2006.
His financial contributions to several different beneficiaries have been substantial.
Griffin and his wife, through the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation, have donated, among many other contributions, $16 million to Children’s Memorial Hospital, and $10 million for the Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center. In February 2014, Harvard University received a $150 million gift from Griffin, earmarked for need-based financial aid for undergraduate students. It is the largest gift Harvard has ever received. He has also donated $11 million to Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, where he is a member.
He has a seat on the board of E-Trade, on their Risk Oversight Committee since 2009. And he serves on the Advisory Boards of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation and on the political risk consultancy Eurasia Group.
As successful as Griffin has been in the business community, he still feels that further growth is possible, and has current concerns about Wall Street; specifically, about the potential for electronic stock exchanges (he is for them supplanting floor-based ones), and risk management practices now being seen on Wall Street. In 2008, he was quoted as saying “the industry needs to overhaul its thinking, accept greater regulation”. (Opalesque)