The File on Citadel’s Ken Griffin

He’s the billionaire founder of the Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel. He’s also a philanthropist, a political player, a benefactor of the arts—and a person with a penchant for privacy. So who exactly is Kenneth Cordele Griffin? We scoured public documents, financial records, and other sources to come up with the answer

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Citadel Center

Citadel’s offices are at 131 South Dearborn Street in a 37-story building called the Citadel Center. The company employs 1,200 people, including many math and physics Ph.D.’s and several meteorologists.

Because it uses computerized trading algorithms, Citadel executes a large number of trades—approximately 8 percent of all trades on U.S. stock markets, as well as 30 percent of all U.S. trades of options, The New York Times reported in 2008. Hedge funds typically collect a flat 2 percent of what investors place with the fund and keep 20 percent of the gains. Citadel charges a higher management fee—in the past, as high as 8 percent—based on its higher operating costs.

Reports suggest that Griffin is not a natural manager. He’s known to frequently read books about management, hewing to the style of Jack Welch (the former General Electric CEO): having lunch with small groups of employees, for instance, and taking suggestions.


Photograph: Todd Urban



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