U.S. Markets

Hedge fund Sculptor picks Levin as CEO after stalled succession plan

BOSTON (Reuters) - Sculptor Capital Management SCU.N said on Wednesday that Chief Investment Officer James Levin will become chief executive officer next year, nearly four years after a clash with the firm's founder temporarily slowed his path to the top job.

Levin, 37, will succeed Robert Shafir as CEO on April 1, said the publicly traded hedge fund firm, one of the world’s largest with $35 billion in assets, in a filing.

For this fiscal year, Levin’s minimum annual compensation will be raised to $10 million from $6 million, the filing said. In 2019, Levin earned $52.5 million compared with Shafir’s $7.5 million, according to an earlier filing.

Shafir, 61, joined Sculptor when it was known as Och-Ziff Capital to calm a late 2017 fallout between founder and CEO Dan Och and his protege Levin. Levin, who joined Sculptor in 2006, had been slated to take over the helm in 2018, but Och suddenly changed his mind around Christmas 2017 to reassert control.

Levin, who cemented his investment prowess by engineering a bet on structured credit debt which earned Och-Ziff a $2 billion profit in 2012, was named sole chief investment officer in 2018.

Och has left the firm and it was renamed last year.

As CIO Levin is responsible for the SCU Credit Opportunities fund, part of Sculptor’s $6 billion lineup of credit portfolios, and its $10 billion multi-strategy fund. The Credit Opportunities fund, for which Levin is listed as the sole portfolio manager, had a rocky start to the year with double-digit losses but investors still added nearly $1 billion in new money in recent weeks.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Richard Chang