Murray to Leave Bridgewater Associates

The world’s largest hedge fund firm said co-CEO Eileen Murray will leave in the first quarter, marking the next phase of a ten-year leadership transition plan that has proved rocky at times.

Bridgewater Associates announced Eileen Murray would be stepping down as co-CEO. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Bridgewater Associates announced Eileen Murray would be stepping down as co-CEO.

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Bridgewater Associates has once again shaken up its management ranks.

The world’s largest hedge fund firm, founded by Ray Dalio, said co-CEO Eileen Murray will leave at the end of the first quarter of 2020. Co-CEO David McCormick will serve as CEO.

Bridgewater manages more than $160 billion in assets for about 300 institutional investors, including public and corporate pension funds, university endowments, charitable foundations, supranational agencies, foreign governments, and central banks.

Murray joined Bridgewater ten years ago and became co-CEO in 2013.

“I am leaving Bridgewater as a stronger and more nimble organization than when I arrived a decade ago,” she said in a note to her Bridgewater colleagues. “So now it feels like the right time to move on to new challenges and opportunities while making room for others at Bridgewater to continue to grow and flourish.”

In a press release, Bridgewater credited her for helping the firm become an institution built for the long-term.

“During her tenure, Eileen has visualized and implemented strategic industry leading innovations and developed a world-class team of professionals as part of the transition,” the firm said in the statement.

McCormick joined Murray as co-CEO in 2017. Bridgewater said in the press release that key accomplishments during their co-tenure included continuing to make progress on the firm’s ownership transition, solidifying and institutionalizing the firm’s culture — which it calls “the cornerstone of its long-term success” — and leading the firm through and cementing its management transition.

“Eileen is a natural born leader, caring about and personally investing in the future of every employee with whom she comes into contact,” Dalio said in the press release. “She has been a great partner and an outstanding co-CEO during an important time in our history.”

Speaking about the management changes, Dalio added, “It is a remarkable thing when a founder who built a company over a number of decades can successfully transition the company to the next generation. Eileen Murray was key to that.”

The firm also portrayed these moves as “the next phase of its successful 10-year leadership transition.”

That transition, however, was not as smooth as Bridgewater may want the world to believe.

Back in early 2016 Greg Jensen, who started at the firm as an intern and has spent his entire career there since graduating from Dartmouth in 1996, caused a public stir when he accused Dalio of not keeping to the firm’s succession plan.

One month later Dalio announced a shake-up, bringing in Jon Rubinstein, a onetime Apple engineer, to serve as co-CEO.

Under the new arrangement, Jensen relinquished his co–chief executive title, which he shared with Murray. However, he retained his co-CIO title, along with Dalio and Robert Prince.

“In order to have pervasive excellent management, we need CEOs who can give their full attention to the company’s management, and we want Greg to shift his full attentions to investment responsibilities,” Bridgewater said in a letter to clients at the time. “One of the things that we have learned over the last six years is that it is probably too much for the CIOs to also serve as CEOs.”

The firm also said at the time that the transition process, which began in 2010, would be completed in four or five years and would include the transfer of management responsibilities and equity ownership from Dalio “to the next generation of Bridgewater leaders.”

The following spring, Rubinstein stepped down after just one year as co-CEO because he wasn’t a “cultural fit,” Dalio said in a note at the time.

In the same announcement, Dalio relinquished his own co-CEO duties but remained as co-CIO along with Prince and Jensen. At the same time, president David McCormick joined Murray as co-CEO.

Prince has been with Bridgewater for 33 years, Jensen for 23 years and McCormick for 10 years.