Nicolai Tangen (born 1966) is a Norwegian hedge fund manager and philanthropist. He is credited with holding the biggest private collection of modernist Nordic art in the world.
Tangen has actively funded initiatives within arts and education through the AKO Foundation, which he established in 2013.
In 2019, he was placed 6th in The Sunday Times Giving List, which ranks philanthropists from the UK based upon the proportion of personal wealth that they have given away each year.
Tangen was trained in interrogation and translation in the Norwegian Intelligence Service, before he attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate from 1988-92.
He holds Master's degrees in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London and in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics.
Tangen was an analyst at Cazenove & Co. before moving to Egerton Capital in 1997.
Tangen left Egerton Capital in 2002. In 2005, he launched AKO Capital, a London-based hedge fund, which has £10.8 billion of assets under management.
The Sunday Times ranked him among the 20 most successful hedge fund managers in the UK in its 2018 Rich List.
Tangen founded the AKO Foundation in April 2013, which focuses on education and the arts. The AKO Foundation has provided funding for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, Teach First, the London School of Economics, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and The Courtauld Institute of Art.
The Sunday Times reported in May 2019 that Tangen has given away more than £100 million to education and arts projects through his foundation.
Tangen will gift his Nordic art collection to a Norwegian foundation as part of a new project planned in his hometown of Kristiansand, Norway. He has supported the conversion of a grain silo into a new museum, the Kunstsilo Museum, which is set to be completed in 2021.
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
In October 2018, Tangen and his wife Katja donated $25 million to the University of Pennsylvania through the AKO Foundation. The funds will be used to create a new campus building, to be named Tangen Hall, and to establish an international scholarship fund.
Tangen has already supported 22 University of Pennsylvania students with scholarships since 2012. He also serves on Wharton’s Board of Overseers.
Edvard Munch Exhibition
Tangen has sponsored The London Munch exhibition at the British Museum, which is the UK’s largest exhibition of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch for nearly 50 years. The exhibition opened in April 2019.
Speaking about Munch, Tangen said that he “strived to paint like Dostoevsky wrote”, “penetrating deeply into the mysteries and realms of the soul."
Tangen is originally from Kristiansand, Norway. He is married to Katja and they have three children together.
In May 2019, it was announced that Tangen and his wife Katja had joined The Giving Pledge, committing at least half of their wealth to philanthropic causes during their lifetime or in their will.