Ken Griffin pulling Citadel out of Chicago

Ken Griffin pulling Citadel out of Chicago

Ken Griffin, Illinois’ richest, takes his family, his billions and his businesses and leaves Chicago.

He made the announcement Thursday in a memo to employees. Griffin said the headquarters of his Citadel hedge fund and trading company, Citadel Securities, would move to Miami, which he called a “vibrant and growing metropolis that embodies the American dream.”

The move is expected to take several years. The companies have more than 1,000 employees in Chicago and while some are expected to stay, it’s unclear how many.

Griffin’s announcement indicates that he has moved his family to Miami. He offered no starting shots in Chicago or Illinois, but was quick to comment on rising crime in the city center and local tax and regulatory policies. He made exit threats for months.

With a net worth estimated by Forbes at over $25 billion. Griffin has been Chicago’s top philanthropist, donating around $500 million to local causes with plans to donate more, but he’s also known for his heavy spending on politicians. He poured $50 million into Richard Irvin’s campaign, running in the Republican gubernatorial primary, but fared poorly in a recent Sun-Times/WBEZ poll.

“Chicago will continue to be important to the future of Citadel, as many of our colleagues have deep ties to Illinois,” Griffin said in his memo to employees. “Over the past year, however, many of our Chicago teams have asked to relocate to Miami, New York and our other offices around the world.”

Griffin called Chicago a “remarkable home” for Citadel and he hailed past support from political and business leaders. But he’s said in other forums that rising crime has made it harder to attract top talent to Citadel, causing companies to increase headcount in other cities while downsizing in Chicago. .

He said the new headquarters would be located in Brickell Bay, in Miami’s business district. Citadel said it has retained Chicago developer Sterling Bay to manage the project. He plans to lease space in Miami until the building is complete. Griffin was not made available for an interview.

His announcement follows the Chicago area’s loss of Boeing and Caterpillar headquarters, a concerning trend offset slightly by news this week that one of three companies in which cereal and snack maker Kellogg will split, the largest, will be based in Chicago. . And in a victory for the city at the expense of the suburbs, Abbott said he would move 450 employees from the Lake County headquarters to downtown.

In April, Griffin expanded on the issue of crime in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “If people aren’t safe here, they won’t live here,” he said. “I have had several colleagues attacked at gunpoint. I had a colleague stabbed on the way to work. Countless burglary problems. I mean, it’s a really tough backdrop from which to attract talent to your city.

Griffin said carjackers approached his security but failed to recover his vehicle.

Citadel executives cited crimes near the homes of several employees and also noted that the corporate headquarters at 131 S. Dearborn St. was vandalized during the 2020 downtown riots.

Griffin attacked Governor JB Pritzker for having no strategy to deal with the crime wave. It became a Billionaires’ War in Illinois, with Pritzker spending millions of his own to campaign for re-election.

A Pritzker spokeswoman, Emily Bittner, did not directly address Griffin’s departure. She said, “Countless businesses call Illinois home as we continue to lead the nation in business relocations and have seen a record number of business start-ups over the past of the past year.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said, “Citadel management has been reporting an enhanced presence in Florida for some time, and while this announcement is not surprising, it is still disappointing. We thank the Citadelle team for their contributions to our city and their many philanthropic commitments, particularly around education, arts and culture and public safety. We know that Citadel will maintain a significant presence in Chicago and their story would not be possible without the great strengths of our city.

But factors other than crime may be at play. Florida has no state income tax, which will benefit any worker who chooses to move, but especially those with high salaries. It’s also possible that Griffin finds Sunshine State politics more to his liking.

Griffin was born in Daytona Beach, Florida, and later moved to Boca Raton, closer to Miami. Several outlets have reported on his habit of buying very expensive homes in areas where Citadel has offices, including several properties on Star Island in Miami. The Wall Street Journal in 2020 said his various purchases totaled over $1 billion.

Locally, evidence of his spending survives in other ways. With its $125 million gift in hand, the Museum of Science and Industry announced that it would bear Griffin’s name, although it did not implement the change. The museum has not said whether Griffin’s exit from Chicago affects that plan.

He has supported research by the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab into the causes of violence. Griffin funded the construction of 50 miniature football fields across the city and helped separate cyclists and runners along the Lakefront Trail. His largesse has supported food donation programs during the pandemic.

Griffin founded the Citadel hedge fund in Chicago in 1990. It has become one of the most successful alternative investment vehicles for high net worth individuals and institutions. The company said it has continued to perform well this year despite a bear market, with assets up 13% through May.

Its Citadel Securities, founded in 2002, has become the world’s leading market maker, which are companies responsible for continuously buying and selling stocks to ensure ease of trading. In January, the company secured an outside minority investment that valued the entire business at $22 billion.

The Philanthropy of Ken Griffin

Citadel claims that Ken Griffin has donated more than $600 million to educational, cultural, medical and civic organizations over the past 30 years.

Some of his gifts:

May 2022 — $25 million to launch two academies at the University of Chicago that will provide six months of training for police leaders here and across the country and people who lead violence-stopping groups.

March 2020 – Griffin and his partners in his finance companies donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools and $1.5 million to the Chicagoland Food Pantry to deliver breakfast and lunch to city kids at the home while their schools are closed due to the pandemic.

October 2019 — The Museum of Science and Industry will now be called the Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry after a $125 million donation from the Chicago billionaire. It is the greatest gift in the history of the museum, which opened in 1933.

April 2018 – A $10 million grant from Griffin supported the Chicago Police Department and University of Chicago Crime Lab collaboration through 2019, with some of the money going to a “fund of innovation”. The money also helped improve services for officers, including training, stress management and mental health treatment.

December 2017 – The Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund has donated $3 million to pave the way for the construction of 50 miniature football fields across the city over the next five years. The announcement was made at Gage Park as part of a national US Soccer Foundation campaign known as “It’s Everyone’s Game”.

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