Why billionaire Ken Griffin is moving Citadel's HQ to Miami from Chicago: riots, an employee stabbed, and the attempted hijacking of his own car
Ken Griffin, the founder of Citadel, speaks with executive Kelly Brennan in the company's bubble in Palm Beach, Florida in 2020. Citadel
Citadel, which has been in Chicago since its inception, is relocating to Miami.
Citadel founder Ken Griffin has already moved to the Sunshine State.
The moves come after Griffin filed complaints about safety in Chicago.
Billionaire Ken Griffin's citadel is moving to the Sun State.
In a memo to employees Thursday, Griffin said he will be moving the headquarters of $51 billion hedge fund Citadel and market maker Citadel Securities from its Chicago headquarters, where it has been based since 1990, to Miami, Fla. embarrassed.
"Many of our Chicago teams have asked over the past year to relocate to Miami, New York and our other offices around the world," Griffin said in a letter to employees. Griffin himself moved to Miami with his family, he said.
According to Citadel spokesman Zia Ahmed, some Citadel Securities employees have already relocated to temporary offices in Miami's Southeast Financial Center, and Citadel's hedge fund teams are expected to follow. Citadel employs more than 1,000 people in Illinois across its two businesses. The company expects to have a few hundred employees based in Miami over the next year.
For the past year, Griffin has been candid about the safety of his colleagues in the Windy City.
"It's getting harder and harder to have this as our global headquarters in a city where there's so much violence," he said at the Economic Club of Chicago last October. "I mean, Chicago is like Afghanistan on a good day, and that's a problem."
When asked how long he planned to stay in Chicago, Griffin said at the time, "It'll probably be measured in years, not decades, if we don't change course."
Although not mentioned in Griffin's note to employees, Ahmed cited crime as another reason for the move. In recent years there has been an attempted carjacking of Griffin's car, a stabbing of a Citadel employee on his way to work, shoplifting in the neighborhood where Citadel employees live, shootings near some employees' homes and mass shootings, riots and looting near Griffin's home in River North.
Citadel is no stranger to Florida. The company made headlines in April 2020 when it set up a "bubble" at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach, Florida for its Citadel Securities trading room due to the fallout from COVID-19. It also booked the resort for the last two summer internship courses.
This year, interns from Citadel Securities stayed at the Palm Beach Four Seasons and interns from the $47 billion hedge fund manager spent the first week of the summer internship program at the Four Seasons in Fort Lauderdale.
A number of other financial firms have established a presence in Miami, including Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, Thoma Bravo and Elliot Management. Other hedge funds such as D1 Capital Partners and Melvin Capital Management also have locations in Florida.
Citadel is building a new office tower in Miami's financial district of Brickell that will take several years to complete. The company also plans to open its 425 Park Avenue location in New York City later this summer.
"With our new office opening at 425 Park Avenue, our expansion at 350 Park Avenue and the opening of our new headquarters in Brickell Bay, in the heart of Miami's booming financial district, we are in a strong position to support these transitions," said Griffin his letter.
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