Kenneth C. Griffin is an entrepreneur, a hedge fund manager, and a philanthropist. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Citadel, a firm he co-founded in 1990. Forbes estimated his net worth in May 2015 to be $6.6 billion.
Mr. Griffin was born in Daytona Beach, Florida on October 15, 1968. He made his first investment in 1986 as a freshman at Harvard University. He had been motivated by an article he read from Forbes magazine. In the same year, he managed to raise a capital of $265,000 and used it to start trading on convertible bond arbitrage.
The need to have real time market data forced him to install a satellite link to his Harvard dorm. He backed the link with a fax machine and a telephone line. His unique investment strategies helped protect his investments when the stock market crashed in 1987. The success of his first fund encouraged him to launch a second fund that saw him manage over 1 million dollars. He graduated from Harvard in 1989.
Following Griffin’s graduation from Harvard with an economics degree, Frank Meyer handed him an extra 1 million dollars to invest. Meyer was mesmerized when Griffin gave him a return of 70%. Meyer, an experienced hedge fund manager, did not expect such success from the fresh graduate.
In 1990, Griffin founded Citadel. He managed to quickly grow the company using an initial capital of 4.6 million dollars. By 1998, Citadel was already an established investment with over 1 billion dollars of investments under its care. At that time, the firm had over 100 employees on full time basis. The success of Citadel made CFO Magazine to include Griffin in its Global 100 list.
Apart from being the Chief Executive Officer of Citadel, Griffin is also a member of several boards. He is in the boards of Committee on Capital Markets Regulations, G100, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Art Institute of Chicago. He is also a member of Commercial Club of Chicago, Chicago Public Education Fund, and Economic Club of Chicago.
Griffin has an outstanding history as a philanthropist. It is estimated that the self made billionaire has donated at least 500 million dollars to various charity causes. A significant proportion of the amount has been donated to institutions found in Chicago. In collaboration with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Griffins helped open a charter school in Chicago.
Some of his outstanding donations include a 16 million donation
to Children’s Memorial Hospital and a 10 million donation to a children’s center in Chicago. In 2014, Griffin donated a staggering 159 million dollars to Harvard University.
Ken Griffin is married to Anne Dias-Griffin. The couple has three children. Anne is also a hedge fund manager. As a member of the Fourth Presbyterian Church, Griffin donated 11 million dollars to help the church build a new chapel.