Bridgewater Associates is making major changes to its leadership team as its CEO considers running for the Senate and founder Ray Dalio takes the next steps toward succession planning.
Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund, told its employees Monday that David McCormick is stepping down to consider running for an open Senate seat in Pennsylvania.
Nir Bar Dea, Bridgewater’s deputy CEO, and Mark Bertolini, co-chair of the firm’s operating board of directors, have been appointed co-CEOs, effective immediately, according to the company.
The two were appointed by Bridgewater’s newly official operating board of directors, which had been functioning informally for years. The board includes Bridgewater employees, leadership, and independent directors.
This is “the next big step in the transition of Bridgewater’s leadership and ownership from Ray to our great and well-established team which has been effectively running Bridgewater for the last six years,” according to Bridgewater. Dalio’s role, though, remains unchanged at this time, according to a spokesperson.
The two new CEOs have already made some management changes, according to Bridgewater. Kyle Delaney will be the firm’s president and remain its chief commercial officer, while Igor Tsyganskiy will be its president and will continue as its chief technology officer.
The co-CEOs are also working on changing Rebecca Patterson’s role, in which she will take on more leadership for the firm’s research and client-facing teams. She is currently the director of investment research.
Bridgewater has experience with a co-CEO strategy. Eileen Murray worked as co-CEO alongside Greg Jensen, then Jon Rubinstein, and finally David McCormick, who took on the role in 2017. Murray left the firm in April 2020, leaving McCormick as its sole CEO since then.
“Besides leading the company effectively, David accomplished a great management transition during his term,” according to Bridgewater. “It is not easy to transition from a founder-led organization with a strong leader and strong culture while having one’s own strong visions and building them out.”
McCormick, for his part, is no stranger to politics, having previously worked in the Treasury Department and the George W. Bush administration. Although he grew up in Pennsylvania, McCormick had been living in Connecticut, where Bridgewater’s offices are based, when he spoke with Institutional Investor in 2020.
That interview followed a difficult period at Bridgewater: Murray resigned, then sued the firm in July 2020, alleging that Bridgewater had withheld compensation after she disclosed ongoing gender discrimination, unequal pay, and a breach-of-contract dispute to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The lawsuit was eventually resolved.
That month, a legal filing revealed that Bridgewater had gone after two former employees alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and breaches of contract. That lawsuit was also eventually settled.
The legal disputes, combined with relatively poor performance and a global pandemic, had McCormick focused on crisis management for much of his tenure as the firm’s sole CEO.
At the time, McCormick told II that a period like this spurs “reflection, innovation, a series of things that came as a consequence of reassessment. That’s the process we’re in now.”