March 1, 2017 / 4:03 PM / in 9 months

Bridgewater shakes up management again as Dalio drops co-CEO role

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The world’s largest hedge fund manager, Bridgewater Associates, is once again changing its leadership structure as part of a 10-year transition plan led by founder Ray Dalio.

Dalio, a billionaire with influential macroeconomic views, will no longer serve as co-chief executive officer of the Westport, Connecticut-based firm, according to a note he posted on LinkedIn on Wednesday. Dalio, 67, will remain co-chief investment officer (CIO) and co-chairman.

The move comes as Jon Rubinstein, a former Apple executive who was hired as co-CEO in May, plans to leave the firm but will remain an advisor, the note said.

“We mutually agree that he is not a cultural fit for Bridgewater,” Dalio wrote on LinkedIn.

Bridgewater manages about $160 billion, according to its website, and is known for a unique culture of “radical truth and radical transparency” whereby intellectual conflict is encouraged to promote a meritocracy of ideas, avoiding traditional office politics.

The culture is not for everyone. The firm is known for relatively high turnover among its roughly 1,700-person staff. An estimated 25 percent depart during the first 18 months of employment.

The note from Dalio also said that David McCormick, already Bridgewater’s president, will join Eileen Murray as co-CEO. McCormick had been under consideration for roles within the administration of President Donald Trump; in January, he declined an offer to be U.S. deputy secretary of defense.

“David, Eileen, and the people who support them have a proven understanding of Bridgewater and its unique culture, and they treasure these things,” Dalio wrote.

Ray Dalio, Founder, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chief Investment Officer, Bridgewater Associates attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

The moves announced Wednesday underscore Bridgewater’s willingness to experiment with different people -- including both old hands and newcomers -- in different executive roles and then quickly change those positions if they do not work as part of the succession plan.

Dalio returned as co-CEO last year after another shake-up of the top ranks when Greg Jensen, who was also co-CIO, stepped down as co-CEO. The dual roles were deemed to be too “tough,” according to the note Wednesday. Jensen remains a key figure as co-CIO along with Dalio and Robert Prince.

The core of Bridgewater’s senior management, including Jensen and Prince, have been with the firm for decades. Others were hired in the last 10 years, including McCormick and Murray in 2009 and management committee member Osman Nalbantoglu in 2008.

More recent additions to the firm include chief financial officer Nella Domenici, chief operating officer Olivier Kohler, and co-chairman John Megrue.

Some management committee members hired in recent years have already departed, including former GE Capital executive Joe Parsons, former HSBC executive Tony Murphy, and former Accenture executive Kevin Campbell.

‘UNTIL I DIE’

“Any organization run by a 60+ year old that says that it isn’t in transition is either naïve or disingenuous,” Dalio added, noting a 10-year process started around 2010 to eventually replace him.

Dalio made it clear the moves, which will be complete by April 15, did not amount to his retirement.

“I’m excited about this change and expect to remain a professional investor at Bridgewater until I die or until those running Bridgewater don’t want me anymore,” Dalio wrote.

Reporting by Lawrence Delevingne; Editing by Carmel Crimmins and Phil Berlowitz

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