Investor Kenneth Griffin is a major player in the financial market. He’s spent more than half his life as a hedge fund manager and knows more about finance than most people have forgotten. Although he’s been wildly successful, the unfortunate trade-off is a complete lack of privacy. Your personal life is an open book. Personal hits, however, haven’t slowed him down professionally. As CEO of Citadel, Griffin has led the company back from the brink of disaster. As other investment banks fell one-by-one, Citadel stood and still stands strong.
Griffin sat down with the Wall Street Journal’s Rob Copeland to discuss the highs and lows of running a large corporation, politics and his high-profile divorce.
Griffin says in this business – or any other where you are a public figure – people are going to take pot shots. If you want to survive, you have to develop a thick skin. He says that although there are a number of allegations that have been made against him in the midst of his divorce, he prefers to take the high road and simply say that his kids are loved by both parents.
Citadel, like other investment companies, found themselves in hot water in the wake of the 2008 banking scandal. The company persevered through Griffin’s leadership and willingness to expand and rebuild. This year the company is celebrating its 25th Anniversary and bringing in new areas of technology with it.
in the realm of politics, Griffin says he’s a fence-straddler. He has often supported both Republican and Democrat candidates and tends to make his choice depending on the candidate’s ability to grasp finances. He gave money to both Democratic mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel, as well as Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.
Griffin says some people may find it funny that he often takes people to McDonald’s to dine. “I drives them nuts,” says Griffin. He says people have a tendency to have certain views regarding how rich people live. He’s breaking that stereotype with a vengeance. Griffin says when he says “Let’s go for a walk” people know where the walk will end.
Although Griffin is not making any calls in terms of who will win the 2016 presidential nomination, there are a few candidates that have caught his eye. He likes Scott Walker because of his stance on unions in Wisconsin. He also says Marco Rubio has a compelling story. Jeb Bush is a descent candidate, but Griffin says American likely have no interest in dynasties.
Although Griffin is a billionaire, its not the money that moves him anymore. He is content with keeping Citadel on top until the bitter end. Griffin loves the work and says it keeps him growing as a person.