Jimmy Levin Finally Ascends to CEO at Sculptor Capital

The hedge fund firm formerly known as Och-Ziff said Levin will succeed Robert Shafir next April.

Sculptor Capital headquarters in New York. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Sculptor Capital headquarters in New York.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Jimmy Levin, chief investment officer of Sculptor Capital Management, will become CEO next April — over three years after founder Dan Och stepped down.

Levin will succeed Robert Shafir, who joined the firm formerly known as Och-Ziff Capital Management as CEO in February 2018. In a statement Wednesday, Sculptor said Levin was also expected to be elected to the hedge fund firm’s board of directors at its annual shareholder meeting later this month.

“Jimmy is the right person to lead Sculptor Capital and his appointment is a natural evolution of the company’s senior management team,” Shafir said in a statement. “During Jimmy’s 14 years at the company he has proven to be an exceptional investor and a sturdy leader through market cycles. I am confident that Jimmy and the talented team at Sculptor Capital will take the company to greater heights.”

Levin, who first joined Sculptor in 2006, has long been marked for the CEO role: Och told clients in 2017 that Levin would eventually succeed him, an announcement that was accompanied by a hefty incentive package for Levin, who was then co-CIO.

However, when Och stepped down as CEO in early 2018, the role went not to Levin but to Shafir, an outsider hired from Credit Suisse.

[II Deep Dive: How an Och-Less Och-Ziff Changed Its Attitude, Its Leadership – and Its Name]


News reports at the time described a clash between Och and his protégé over a number of issues, including the health of the firm’s balance sheet. The conflict extended to the firm’s board, with board member William Barr — the current U.S. attorney general — resigning over “a disagreement over CEO succession, as well as business and governance plans for the company,” according to a regulatory filing.

Speaking to II earlier this year, Levin explained why he chose to stay at the firm after being passed over for CEO. “I rode it out because of their faith in me,” he said, referring to his investment team and a core group of clients. “Asset management is always about the team and the people willing to back the team.”

Months after Shafir succeeded Och, co-founded David Windeich retired from the firm, and Levin became sole chief investment officer. The official rebrand to “Sculptor Capital Management” — intended to signal the change in leadership as well as distance the firm from a 2016 bribery scandal — came soon after.

“I am honored to lead the company as the next CEO,” Levin said in a statement Wednesday.