Eli Lilly’s Susan Ridlen to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Institutional Investor will honor the longtime CIO at its annual Hedge Fund Industry Awards in May.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Institutional Investor will honor Susan Ridlen, Eli Lilly’s longtime chief investment officer, with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th annual Hedge Fund Industry Awards for her contributions not only to the pension fund but also to the broader allocator community.

Ridlen, who has been with Eli Lilly since 1991 and its CIO since 2005, will be recognized for her work on May 11 in New York.

In addition to leading a team and managing Eli Lilly’s overall investment decisions, Ridlen is directly responsible for the corporate pension fund’s $3.4 billion allocation to hedge funds, which is invested in ‘funds of one’ and direct mandates. Over the years, this allocation, which accounts for about 30 percent of Eli Lilly’s portfolio, has generated impressive returns with low beta, or having less volatility than the market.

In her role, Ridlen has found creative ways to work with hedge fund managers, tapping both emerging and longtime funds to build collaborative relationships.

Prior to becoming Eli Lilly’s CIO, Ridlen served as the chief financial officer and executive director of finance, manufacturing, and quality for the company. She has also been global treasury director in Belgium, a finance manager, and a senior financial analyst.

Before earning her MBA at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Ridlen worked at auditing firm Arthur Andersen, among other accounting roles.


Today, Ridlen serves on the board at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Foundation, where she chairs the investment committee. She also serves on the board at Circle Centre Mall as a general partner chair and president. In 2022, Ridlen joined the American Benefits Council Policy Board.

From 2017 through 2022, Ridlen was the investment committee chair for the CIEBA Board. She is on the advisory council at the Managed Funds Association, Institutional Investor, AIF Global Investors, and the Northern Trust Client Forum.

Ridlen will be honored alongside her fellow asset owners and hedge fund managers at a gala dinner held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York on May 11. Institutional Investor will announce the hedge fund manager Lifetime Achievement Award honoree at a later date.

At the gala, Institutional Investor will reveal the allocator and hedge fund manager winners. Voting for the finalists is now open — qualified managers can vote for allocators here, and allocators can vote for managers here.