|Intro||American hedge fund manager|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||15 October 1968, Daytona Beach, Volusia County, Florida, USA|
|Residence||Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA|
Kenneth Cordele Griffin (born October 15, 1968) is an American hedge fund manager and billionaire. He is the chief executive (CEO) of the investment firm Citadel, which he founded in 1990. Citadel operates with an estimated $36 billion in investment capital.
Early life and education
Griffin was born in 1968 in Daytona Beach, Florida, the son of a building supplies executive, and grew up in Boca Raton, Texas, and Wisconsin. Griffin's father was a project manager for General Electric.
Griffin went to middle school in Boca Raton followed by Boca Raton Community High School, where he was the president of the math club.
Griffin started at Harvard College in the fall of 1986. That year, Griffin first began investing after finding what he believed were inefficiencies in the convertible bonds market, which allows company bonds to be converted into stock. He convinced school administrators to allow him to install a satellite dish on the roof of Cabot House for receiving stock quotes. He also asked Terrence J. O’Connor, the manager of convertible bonds at Merrill Lynch in Boston, to open a brokerage account for him with $100,000 that Griffin had gotten from his grandmother, his dentist, and others. His first fund launched in 1987 with $265,000, days after his nineteenth birthday. The fund launched in time to profit from his short positions at the time of the stock market crash of October 19, 1987. Griffin graduated in 1989 with a degree in economics.
After graduating in 1989, Griffin moved to Chicago to work with the investor Frank Meyer, founder of Glenwood Capital Investments. Meyer allotted $1 million of Glenwood capital for Griffin to trade.
A year later in 1990, Griffin founded Citadel with assets under management of $4.6 million aided by contributions from Meyer.
By 1998, Citadel had grown to a team of more than 100 employees and $1 billion in investment capital. According to research by LCH Investments NV, Citadel was 3rd in the all-time ranking of hedge fund managers, having made gains since inception for investors of $35.6 billion.
In 2008, he was inducted into Institutional Investors Alpha's Hedge Fund Manager Hall of Fame along with twelve other fund managers.
Wealth and investments
In 2003, aged 34, Griffin was the youngest self-made individual on the Forbes' Forbes 400 with an estimated net worth of $650 million. In 2014, Griffin reportedly earned $1.3 billion including a share of his firm's management and performance fees, cash compensation and stock and option awards.
As of February 2020 Griffin had an estimated net worth of US$12.8 billion, making him the richest person in Illinois and the 45th richest person in America.
Griffin owns a large portfolio of real estate, including a 2013 acquisition of property in Palm Beach, Florida, for $130 million, and a 2019 purchase of 3 Carlton Gardens near Buckingham Palace for £95 million ($122 million). In January 2019, he purchased the penthouse at 220 Central Park South in New York City for $238 million, a US record for a home purchase.
Griffin was the lead investor, losing 20 percent, in Aragon Global Management beginning in 2003 through to 2009 which was launched by his then wife Anne Dias Griffin, also seeded with money from New York investor Julian Robertson.
In 2012, Griffin identified as a Reagan Republican in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. He said the belief "that a larger government is what creates prosperity, that a larger government is what creates good" is wrong.
After the 2007–08 financial crisis, Griffin made political donations to conservative political candidates, parties, and organizations such as American Crossroads and the Republican Governors Association.
In 2015, Griffin donated $5.855 million to Conservative Solutions Project, Freedom Partners Action Fund, Right to Rise, and Future45.
In December 2015, Griffin endorsed Marco Rubio for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and stated that he planned to donate millions to a pro-Rubio super PAC. Before this endorsement, Griffin had donated $100,000 each to three super PACs supporting Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Scott Walker for the GOP nomination.
In March, 2020, Griffin contributed $1,000,000 to the 1820 PAC created to support the re-election bid of U. S. Senator Susan Collins in Maine.
In October 2009, Griffin and his wife founded the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation. The foundation is particularly focused on donations to public schools and libraries.
The Griffins have previously worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the promotion of charter schools in the US. The couple have worked with University of Chicago economics professor John A. List to test whether investment in teachers or in parents produces better student performance outcomes.
At the beginning of 2014, Griffin made a $150 million donation to the financial aid program at Harvard University, his alma mater, the largest single donation ever made to the institution at the time.
In 2014, he was elected to a five-year term on the University of Chicago's board of trustees. He is also a member of a number of organizations including the Economic Club of Chicago, and the civic committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. Griffin is the vice chairman of the Chicago Public Education Fund.
In November 2017, the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund announced that it intends to make a new $125 million gift to support the Department of Economics of the University of Chicago, which will be renamed the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics.
With total donations totalling $21.5 million the Field Museum of Natural History renamed their Griffin funded dinosaur exhibit the Griffin Dinosaur Experience. And opened in the Griffin Halls an exhibit titled Evolving Planet that chronicles the earth's history from its beginnings.
In October 2019, the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable fund announced a $125 million gift to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the largest gift in the museum's history.
Arts, poverty, and health
In 2010, Griffin contributed to Chicago Symphony Orchestra's productions at Millennium Park. He supported the University of Chicago's Center for Urban School Improvement, a program encouraging the construction of an inner-city charter high school. That same year, Griffin contributed to the Chicago Children's Memorial Hospital.
In 2017, Griffin contributed $15 million to the Robin Hood Foundation.
In March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, Griffin contributed $2.5 million to "the fund to support food services for Chicago Public School families". $1 million of that donation went to CPS and the rest was directed to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Griffin is an active modern and contemporary art buyer. He buys art from mainstream artists.
Griffin's collection of modern paintings include his purchase in 1999, of Paul Cézanne's painting Curtain, Jug and Fruit Bowl for a record $60 million at the time. Griffin's 2016 purchases from David Geffen of Willem de Kooning's 1955 oil painting, Interchange for $300 million, and Jackson Pollock's 1948 painting, Number 17A, for $200 million.
In terms of contemporary art, Griffin purchased False Start by artist Jasper Johns for $80 million in October 2006 from David Geffen. In 2015, he purchased Gerhard Richter's 1986 painting Abstract Picture, 599 for $46 million.
Griffin has donated money to multiple art museums, beginning primarily in the 2000s. He has been on the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago since 2000 and regularly supports its exhibitions.
In July 2007, Griffin donated a $19 million addition to the Art Institute of Chicago that was designed by Renzo Piano and named Kenneth and Anne Griffin Court. The Paul Cézanne paintings have also been loaned to the Institute.
As of 2010, Griffin had contributed to the Art Institute of Chicago. He serves on the Board of Trustees at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York as of 2010, whose lobby bears his name: Kenneth C. Griffin Hall. In February 2015, Griffin donated $10 million to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and used to create the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art.
In December 2015, he donated an unrestricted $40 million to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Griffin met his first wife, Katherine Weingartt, at Boca Raton Community High School. The couple divorced.
In 2002 Griffin met his second wife Anne Dias-Griffin, a French graduate of Harvard Business School who had worked at Goldman Sachs, Soros Fund Management, and Viking Global prior to starting Chicago-based $55 million firm Aragon Global Management. The couple married in July 2003 and had three children but separated in 2012. Griffin and his second wife finalized their divorce in October 2015.
In 2019, Griffin bought a penthouse in 220 Central Park South for $238 million, a US residential property record at the time. As comparison, in the same year the whole Chrysler Building was sold for $150 million.
Griffin is a member of the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. In 2011, Griffin donated $11 million of the $38.2 million needed to build a new chapel at the church. The modern building is called "The Gratz Center" in honor of Griffin's grandparents.