Hedge fund manager Tom Steyer to leave Farallon Capital

BOSTON Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:23am EDT

BOSTON Oct 22 (Reuters) - Tom Steyer the billionaire founder of Farallon Capital, one of the world's biggest hedge funds, told investors on Monday that he plans to step down by year's end and hand the reins to top lieutenant Andrew Spokes.

In a letter seen by Reuters, Steyer said that his life's priorities are shifting from investing to giving back and that it was time to make a change at the San Francisco-based firm which oversees about $21 billion in assets.

"As my role has shrunk over time, his has grown, and rightfully so," Steyer wrote about Spokes, adding: "Now it is time for him to take the reins alone."

Speculation began circulating last week that Steyer - who has become increasingly involved in philanthropy and politics, having spoken at this year's Democratic National Convention - was ready to leave the firm. His departure will mark one of the biggest moves in the industry in recent months, at a time many hedge fund stars are reaching middle age and thinking about what is next for themselves and their firms.

In the letter, Steyer said that his partners would be buying him out. Looking ahead he ended the letter on a bright note, saying: "I fully expect Farallon's best days are yet to come." But he also told investors: "I hope you all won't disappear when I'm not running the show anymore."

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