Citadel

Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Ken Griffin Moving Citadel HQ Out of Chicago, Into Miami

The move follows similar recent announcements from other large companies

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Another large company has announced it is moving its headquarters out of Chicago.

Thursday, in a letter to employees, Hedge fund manager and billionaire Ken Griffin announced that, after more than 30 years in Chicago, his investment firm Citadel would be relocating to Miami.

"I am excited to share with you that Citadel is moving its global headquarters to Miami," the letter read. "Miami is a vibrant, growing metropolis that embodies the American Dream. I am excited to have recently moved to Miami with my family and look forward to rapidly expanding Citadel in a city so rich in diversity and abounding with energy."

After mentioning that while many employees have deep ties to Illinois, "many of our Chicago teams have asked to relocate to Miami, New York and our other offices around the world," the letter reads.

"We recognize that the choice of where to call home involves personal, family, school and other considerations, and we will provide comprehensive support to meet the needs of our teams."

The move follows similar recent announcements from other large companies.

Boeing, which moved to Chicago from Seattle in 2001, this past May announced it would move its headquarters out of the city and into Arlington, Virginia.

And earlier this month, construction manufacturing giant Caterpillar, which in 2017 moved it's headquarters from Peoria to Deerfield, said it was relocating that office to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“We believe it’s in the best strategic interest of the company to make this move, which supports Caterpillar’s strategy for profitable growth as we help our customers build a better, more sustainable world,” Caterpillar's CEO Jim Umpleby said in a statement.

In the memo, Griffin called Chicago a “remarkable home” for Citadel, and praised past support from political and business leaders. But he has said in other forums that rising crime has made it harder to attract top talent to Citadel, resulting in the firms adding to their headcounts in other cities while trimming it in Chicago.

In April, Griffin expanded on the crime issue in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “If people aren’t safe here, they’re not going to live here,” he said. “I’ve had multiple colleagues mugged at gunpoint. I’ve had a colleague stabbed on the way to work. Countless issues of burglary. I mean, that’s a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent to your city from.”

With a net worth estimated by Forbes at more than $25 billion, Griffin, the state's richest person, has been Chicago’s leading philanthropist.

He's donated about $500 million to local causes with plans to give more, but he’s also been noted for his heavy spending on politicians, including contributing $50 million into the Republican gubernatorial Candidate Richard Irvin.

Irvin on Thursday also released a statement about the move and took a stab at Illinois' Democratic Governor JB Pritzker, saying that he "is either in complete denial or simply refuses to acknowledge what everyone sees which is that his high-tax, pro- criminal administration is literally driving jobs and businesses out of state. In the last month alone, Illinois lost Boeing, Caterpillar and now Citadel."

Pritzker also released a statement about the move, saying "Countless companies are choosing Illinois as their home, as we continue to lead the nation in corporate relocations and had a record number of business start-ups in the past year."

Citadel's move is expected to take several years. The firms have more than 1,000 employees in Chicago and while some are expected to remain, how many is unknown.

The Chicago Sun-Times wire contributed to this story.

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