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26 CIO Candidates For George Soros' Family Office

by trusted insight posted 1year ago 19534 views

As the quest for the next Harvard endowment chief hangs in the air, another alluring position in institutional investing just opened up.

Ted Burdick, appointed chief investment officer for Soros Fund Management in January, is stepping down after less than a year in the role. Now George Soros, the 86 year-old billionaire, is on the search for the seventh CIO since 2000 for his $30-billion family office. 

The family office seeks a candidate with experience in macroeconomic investing, Pensions and Investments reported, citing an anonymous source associated with the firm. Business Insider reported that the firm will most likely hire externally.

Mr. Burdick, the out-going CIO, started at Soros in 2000 as an analyst in its London office. In 2005, he joined Camulos Capital, a spinout from the Soros Fund, before returning to Soros in 2010 to lead the firm’s distressed debt and arbitrage group. He was promoted to CIO when then-CIO Scott Bessent departed to start his own hedge fund.

Factoring in the family office’s hiring history and media speculation, Trusted Insight pored over its institutional investor database and identified 26 investment professionals who are the most promising candidates for the job. Our list includes high-profile investors of family offices at similar scales to Soros; current and former employees at Soros Fund and its associated firms; and CIOs at endowments and hospitals. Many of these names, not surprisingly, have been featured on Trusted Insight’s Top 30 lists

Here are the 26 investors with the highest likelihood of being the next CIO for Soros Fund Management (names are in alphabetical order):

Alice Ruth
Chief Investment Officer, Willett Advisors
Expertise: Family Office Investing

Alice Ruth has led Willett Advisors, the family office that manages the philanthropic assets of Michael R. Bloomberg, for the past eight years. Previously, she was the CIO at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation from 2001 to 2008. Her more than 15 years of experience in leading multi-billion private wealth makes her a strong candidate for the role at Soros.

Anne Shelton    
Vice President, AARP
Expertise: Asset Allocation

Anne Shelton has broad expertise across all asset classes. She currently leads a $3 billion portfolio at AARP. Previously, she spent nine years at American Red Cross, first as a senior investment officer and eventually deputy CIO. She had also led the absolute return strategy at Cornell University endowment. Her experience at endowments and foundations may bring a fresh perspective to Soros’ trading desk.

Ashvin Chhabra    
President, Euclidean Capital 
Expertise: Hedge Funds, Family Office Investing

Ashvin Chhabra currently heads Euclidean Capital, the family office of hedge fund billionaire James Simons. Chhabra was the former CIO at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and the Institute for Advanced Study. He is widely recognized in investor circles as one of the founders of “goal-based wealth management.” He has authored a book The Aspirational Investor: Taming the Markets to Achieve Your Life's Goals. With experience serving high net worth clients and large AUMs at various institution types, Chhabra will make a perfect candidate for the Soros position.

Chris Dries
Portfolio Manager, 1888 Management 
Expertise: Hedge Funds

Trusted Insight ranked Chris Dries as the No.1 non-CIO LP investing in hedge funds. He currently manages the hedge fund portfolio for 1888 Management, the family office of the Koch brothers (Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch). He previously spent eight years at Platte River Capital, a middle-market focused private equity firm. If Soros is seeking an outside hire who might just be looking for a step up in his career, Dries will definitely be in his sights.

Chuck Chai    
President, Chief Investment Officer, Hillspire LLC
Expertise: Family Office Investing
Chuck Chai currently leads Hillspire, the Silicon Valley family office founded by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, whose AUM is estimated at more than $5 billion. Hillspire focuses on alternative and long-term investments, according to its website. Chai’s experience managing the assets of one of the country’s wealthiest individuals would be an invaluable asset to Soros Fund.             

Clark Cheng 
Chief Investment Officer, Merrimac Corp.
Expertise: Hedge Funds 

Clark Cheng’s career has a strong focus on hedge funds. Before joining Merrimac, he led alternative asset research at HSBC. His earlier career involved hedge fund-focused roles at prominent investment banks, including Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. His deep expertise in hedge funds and experience at a broad spectrum of firms might give him an edge over other candidates in competing for the top position at Soros Fund.

Clay Drury    
Chief Investment Officer, The Jordan Family Office
Expertise: Hedge Funds, Family Office Investing

Clay Drury has been the CIO for the Jordan Family Office for nine years. The Jordan family’s investments focus exclusively on hedge funds. His experience in hedge fund-focused family office investing will transition very well into Soros Fund, which shares the same emphasis.

David Ben-Ur 
Chief Investment Officer, CAM Capital
Expertise: Macro Hedge Fund

Experience in macro investment is said to be one quality that Soros seeks in his next CIO. David Ben-Ur fits the bill. He has extensive experience in both traditional and alternative assets. He currently serves as the CIO of The Kovner Foundation and of CAM Capital, which manages the private assets of the Kovner family. Similar to the Soros Fund, CAM Capital has its origin in hedge funds. Bruce Kovner established the firm in 2012 following his retirement from Caxton Associates, the macro hedge fund he founded and managed from 1983 to 2011.

David Chiang    
Managing Director, Soros Fund Management
Expertise: Private Equity, Family Office Investing

The Soros Fund has a track record of promoting from within, and David Chiang is the strongest candidate in that regard. Chiang is particularly experienced in private investments. He  currently leads global private equity investments for Soros and  previously held decision making roles at private equity fund of funds and middle market buyout firms. He is named on Trusted Insight’s Top 30 Family Office Rising Stars

David Kalk    
Chief Investment Officer, Thiel Macro
Expertise: Hedge Funds, Family Office Investing

David Kalk recently joined Thiel Macro as its CIO. He previously worked at Clarium Capital, a hedge fund founded by Peter Thiel that pursues a global macro strategy. Kalk’s specialization in macro hedge funds would stand out as a promising candidate for Soros.
H. Perry Boyle, Jr.    
President, Chief Investment Officer, Stamford Harbour Capital
Expertise: Hedge Funds

H. Perry Boyle, Jr. is another candidate with strong experience in macro strategy. He was the former head of equities at Point72 Asset Management for two years, the family office managing assets for Steven Cohen. Before that, he worked for nine years at SAC Capital Advisors.

Jainen Thayer    
Chief Investment Officer, Oberlin College
Expertise: Hedge Funds, Asset Allocation

Jainen Thayer is the chief investment officer of Oberlin College’s $832-million endowment assets. Previously he was the director of investments at New York University from 2011 to 2012, and a managing director at Fortress Investment Group from 2006 to 2011. Fortress was recognized by Institutional Investor as “Discretionary Macro-Focused Hedge Fund of the Year” for 2012. Thayer’s leadership experience at endowments may bring a fresh perspective to Soros’ trading desk.

Jason Perlioni   
Chief Investment Officer, Pritzker Group Asset Management
Expertise: Family Office Investing

Jason Perlioni has been the CIO for Pritzker Group Asset Management for nine years. He leads the the firm’s investments across all asset classes. Perlioni began his investment career by managing hedge fund investments for Northwestern University endowment and later transitioned to a broader range of assets at UBS before joining Pritzker. His established tenure in high-level investment roles would deem  him a very competent candidate for Soros.

Joel Wittenberg
Chief Investment Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Expertise: Asset Allocation

Joel Wittenberg is one of the most seasoned candidates on our list, with almost 30 years of experience leading investments at foundations and Fortune 500 companies. He has extensive knowledge in debt issuance and hedging, foreign exchange management, commodities hedging and investor relations. Wittenberg was named on Trusted Insight’s Top 30 Foundation Chief Investment Officers
(Read our exclusive interview with Wittenberg here.)

John Barker    
Chief Investment Officer, Partners Healthcare
Expertise: Alternative Assets

John Barker currently oversees Partners’ long-term, aggregate bond, money market and ERISA investment pools. He has a strong background in endowment investing, having spent nine years focusing on alternative assets investment, first at Wellesley College and then Harvard Management Company. Barker was named on Trusted Insight’s Top 30 Hospital Chief Investment Officers. He will be a strong candidate if Soros wants a fresh face outside the tight circle of family offices. 

Keith Seibert    
Managing Director, C.M. Capital Advisors
Expertise: Family Office Investing

Keith Seibert currently leads hedge funds and public market investments for C.M. Capital Advisors, a subsidiary of C.M. Capital Corporation, an investment firm focusing on Silicon Valley opportunities for the Cha family of Hong Kong. Seibert has more than 13 years of experience in family office investing, with previous positions held at AI International and LyonRoss Capital Management. Given his hedge fund and family office background, Soros Fund Management might just be an ideal next destination for him.

Lane MacDonald       
President, Chief Investment Officer, Crosby Advisors
Expertise: Private Equity, Family Office Investing

Crosby Advisors is the family office that manages the wealth of the Johnson family, which owns the third-generation family business Fidelity Investments. Prior to joining Crosby Advisors in 2014, MacDonald led the private equity investments for Harvard endowment from 2008 to 2014. Given his transition from endowment to family office, Soros Fund might very likely to his next big move. A piece of fun trivia: Mr. MacDonald is also a former ice hockey star, who represented the U.S. at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Matt Bigliardi    
Director of Investments, Tao Capital
Expertise: Venture Capital, Private Equity

Matt Bigliardi is a savvy venture capital investor at Tao Capital. The company has invested in some of the most successful companies including Tesla, SpaceX, Uber, Proterra, Turo and Zenefits. Bigliardi previously worked at prominent private equity firms including H.I.G. Capital, Silver Lake Partners and Shah Capital Partners. Should he join Soros, he might invigorate the family office’s venture capital portfolio.

Patrick Kenary        
Managing Director, Thiel Macro
Expertise: Hedge Funds 

Patrick Kenary is the former CIO for Peter Thiel’s hedge fund Clarium Capital, promoted from the head of risk position at the same firm. Before working for Peter Thiel, he held positions at hedge fund firms including HFR Asset Management and Tudor Investment Corporation. His tenure at prominent hedge funds makes him a very promising candidate for the Soros job.

Paul Ghaffari        
Former CIO, Vulcan Capital
Expertise: Hedge Funds 

Paul Ghaffari left the CIO position at Vulcan Capital, Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen’s family office, in 2014, after four years at the job. He previously managed investments for Soros and founded a fund firm, which was later acquired by Morgan Stanley. Ghaffari’s existing relationship with Soros Fund and CIO experience for Paul Allen’s family office could make him the perfect candidate, if Soros wants someone with an outside perspective who still knows the Fund well.

Paul Kerwin    
Macro Trader, DFO LLC
Expertise: Macro Hedge Funds

Paul Kerwin has more than 25 years in macro trading and a close association with Soros. He spent nearly his entire investment career as a macro trader for Stanley Druckenmiller, a former  Soros CIO, who was the lead manager for the Quantum Fund from 1988 to 2000. Druckenmiller left the job in 2000 to start his own hedge fund, Duquesne Capital, where Kerwin remained as a macro trader. He eventually left the job in 2010, as Druckenmiller closed the fund, which had over $12 billion in assets at the time. Paul Kerwin’s experience at a macro hedge fund could be perfect for Soros, given his hedge fund background and rumored desire for someone with macroeconomic investment experience.
Richard Perez    
Chief Investment Officer, 40 North Management
Expertise: Hedge Funds 

Another former employee of Soros, Richard Perez is now the CIO at 40 North Management, a multi-family office. Perez was in charge of manager selection at Soros Fund Management from 2009 to 2015. Before that, he was the vice president of hedge fund strategies at Goldman Sachs.

Richard Slocum    
Chief Investment Officer, The Johnson Company
Expertise: Portfolio Management

Richard Slocum has more than 30 years of investing experience, and he has been the CIO for the Johnson Company since 2011. He developed an asset allocation plan for the family and the charity that they direct. Previously, he was the head of private investments at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one of the largest in the nation. He was also a director of investments at the University of Pennsylvania. His wealth of experience in managing large portfolios across asset classes would deem him a highly desirable CIO for Soros.

Robert M. Platek    
Partner, MSD Capital
Expertise: Family Office Investing

Robert Platek joined MSD in January 2002 as co-manager of the Special Opportunities Group, and he became a Partner of MSD in January 2006. His earlier career as a hedge fund manager focused primarily on distressed and high-yield bonds as well as restructured equities. Platek’s similar background to Burdick’s makes him a very likely replacement for the job at Soros. 

Sid Malhotra    
Chief Investment Officer, Kactus Capital Management
Expertise: Hedge Funds

Sid Malhotra is a former vice president at Pritzker Group from 2008 to 2014. He currently leads investments across public and private markets at Kactus Capital Management, a private investment firm. Malhotra was named on Trusted Insight’s Top 30 Ivy League Graduate Chief Investment Officers

Trent May   
Chief Investment Officer, 1888 Management
Expertise: Hedge Funds

Trent May has been the CIO for the Koch Brothers’ family office, 1888 Management, for five years. Previously he was the CIO for Wyoming Retirement System. His hedge fund expertise covers both fund-of-funds and single strategy vehicles. He has experience in establishing a family office for one of the wealthiest families in the United States, which will make him a highly-experienced candidate to lead Soros’ investment office, if Mr. May is looking for his next challenge.

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