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An Och-Less Och-Ziff

Following news reports of internal clashes over its future, the hedge fund firm has tapped a Credit Suisse executive as its next leader.

  • By Amanda Cantrell

Och-Ziff Capital Management Group has named a new chief executive from outside the company amid headlines about succession problems at the publicly traded, $32 billion hedge fund firm.

Robert Shafir — previously the chief executive of Credit Suisse Americas and co-head of its private banking and wealth management arm — will take over as CEO from Dan Och, effective February 5, the firm said in a statement  on Tuesday. Och will continue to serve as chairman through March 2019 and expects to remain involved with the firm after that. 

The announcement follows recent reports of turmoil inside the firm over its future leadership, with Och telling investors in a December letter that co-chief investment officer Jimmy Levin was no longer in line for the CEO job, according to a Bloomberg report. 

On Monday, the firm announced that William Barr, a former U.S. attorney general, had stepped down from Och-Ziff’s board, according to a regulatory filing. Barr had joined the board in August 2016 and submitted a resignation letter on January 23 that read simply, “This is to advise you that I am resigning from the board of directors, effective at the end of this month (January). If that timing causes any difficulties for the company, please let me know.” 

Barr resigned over “a disagreement over CEO succession, as well as business and governance plans for the Company,” Och-Ziff said in the filing.

The announcements come as the firm had appeared to turn a corner on a difficult chapter, following a spell of tough performance and the settlement of a long-running bribery investigation that prompted billions of dollars in outflows. 

In September of 2016 the firm settled criminal charges that one of its former executives – who was charged with fraud earlier this month – had paid bribes to high-level government officials in Africa. Its OZ Master Fund had gained 9.94 percent through November, 2017.

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