Kenneth Griffin is an American hedge fund manager and founder and CEO of Citadel, an investment firm. Ken Griffin was born in 1968 in Daytona Beach, Florida. He attended Harvard University to study economics, and began investing during his freshman year at the university after reading about the topic of investing in Forbes magazine. Griffin started a hedge fund with money given to him from friends and family during his sophomore year at Harvard. Soon thereafter he launched a second hedge fund, and was managing over $1 million between the two.
After graduating from Harvard in 1989, Ken Griffin was given $1 million to invest from Frank Meyer, an American investor and founder of Glenwood Capital LLC. Griffin was able to make an impressive 70 percent return on the investment, which exceeded Meyer’s expectations.
Eleven years after investing for Meyer, Griffin started Citadel. He used $4.6 to start the company, which grew to $1 billion in investments by 1998. Citadel is one of the world’s leading financial investment institutions. The company focuses on alternative asset management and has over $25 billion in investment capital. In March 2010 Citadel was named one of the Top 10 Great Workplaces in Financial Services by the Great Places to Work Institute. The Citadel has offices throughout the world including in Chicago, New York, London, Toronto and Hong Kong.
During the 2008 creation of Institutional Investor’s Alpha Hedge Fund Hall of Fame, Griffin was named one of 14 inaugural inductees. The businessman ranked number 89 in 2014 on the Forbes annual ranking of the 400 richest people in America. His net worth is estimated to be around $5.5 billion.
Griffin serves and has served on a number of boards and is involved in a number of philanthropic efforts. He currently serves on the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, a nonpartisan organization which aims to improve the regulations of U.S. capital markets. He is also the vice chairman of the Chicago Public Education Fund. Griffin has donated over $500 million to a number of causes. Along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006, Griffin opened the Woodlawn High School, a Chicago charter school. In early 2014 Griffin donated $150 million to Harvard in order to support need-based financial aid. He has also donated large sums of money to various other causes and institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital.
Known as an avid art collector and buyer, Griffin has a celebrated private collection. In 1999, he paid $60 million for artist Paul Cezanne’s painting titled Curtain, Jug and Fruit Bowl, and in 2006 Griffin purchased Jasper Johns’ False Start for $80 million.
Griffin has three children and resides in Chicago, Il.