Ken Griffin moving Citadel headquarters from Chicago to Miami

Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin is moving his company’s headquarters from Chicago to Miami.

In a note to employees on Thursday, Griffin said his investment firm, Citadel, will move to new headquarters in Miami’s financial district after more than 30 years in Chicago. Citadel, which has about 1,000 employees in Chicago, will maintain an office in the city, but many are expected to relocate with corporate locus to the Sunshine State, where Griffin, a Florida native, recently moved with his family.

“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 note. “Last year, however, many of our Chicago teams asked to move to Miami, New York and our other offices around the world.”

Ken Griffin’s announcement of the Citadel move comes at a politically curious time for the billionaire. Read more here>>>

Citadel Securities, a jointly owned trading company, will also move to Miami. Citadel has more than 4,000 employees in 17 offices around the world.

The richest man in Illinois, Griffin founded Citadel in 1990 and built it into one of the largest hedge funds in the world. With a net worth of $27 billion, he has been a civic force in Chicago, donating more than $1 billion to organizations such as the Art Institute, the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Science and Industry, which announced it would be renamed in Griffin’s tribute in 2019.

But Griffin, 53, has also been an outspoken critic of the city in recent years. In an appearance at the Economic Club of Chicago in October, Griffin cited rising crime and violence on the city’s streets as one of several reasons Citadel, which has $51 billion in assets under management, was considering a move to Chicago. greener corporate pastures.

Citadel’s move is the latest corporate blow for the Chicago area, with aerospace giant Boeing announcing last month that it was moving its headquarters to Arlington, Va., after more than 20 years in the West Loop. Earlier this month, Caterpillar announced that it would move its headquarters from the northern suburb of Deerfield to an existing office in Irving, Texas, just outside Dallas.

The losses are offset somewhat by Tuesday’s announcement that Battle Creek, Michigan-based Kellogg Company is splitting into three separate companies and locating its snacking headquarters in Chicago.

“The Citadel’s leadership has been signaling an enhanced presence in Florida for some time, and while this announcement is not surprising, it is still disappointing,” a spokeswoman for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “We thank the Citadel team for their contributions to our city and their many philanthropic commitments, particularly around education, arts and culture, and public safety.”

Citadel’s loss could be costly, however, with the hedge fund’s wealthy directors and employees generating billions of dollars in tax revenue for the city and state over the past decade, according to Zia Ahmed, a Citadel spokeswoman.

Citadel is leasing temporary space and working with Chicago-based Sterling Bay to develop its new corporate headquarters in Miami.

In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for Governor JB Pritzker praised recent corporate relocation victories in response to Citadel’s announced departure from Illinois.

“Countless companies are choosing Illinois as their home as we continue to lead the country in corporate relocations and have had a record number of start-ups in the past year,” said spokeswoman Emily Bittner. “We will continue to welcome these companies – including Kellogg, which announced this week that it is moving its largest headquarters to Illinois – and support emerging industries that are already creating good jobs and investing billions in Illinois, such as data centers, electrical and quantum systems. Computing.”

In addition to the economic consequences, Griffin’s move to Miami could have significant implications for the political sphere in Illinois.

A major contributor to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s unsuccessful 2018 re-election bid against Pritzker, the Democratic challenger, Griffin turned his attention — and his money — to defeating Pritzker’s graduated income tax proposal.

Griffin donated $53.75 million to the Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike, which bombarded the airwaves with TV ads and helped sink the amendment, which was overwhelmingly rejected by voters in November 2020.

Most recently, Griffin contributed $50 million to support Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin’s campaign to win the nomination as a Republican gubernatorial candidate in next week’s Illinois primaries.

Despite leaving the state, Griffin reiterated his commitment to Irvin’s candidacy on Thursday.

“Ken continues to believe that Richard Irvin is the best gubernatorial candidate in Illinois,” Ahmed said.

rchannick@chicagotribune.com

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