Miami nabs another big name as Citadel’s Griffin shifts HQ

Billionaire Ken Griffin is moving his family and companies, Citadel and Citadel Securities, citing Miami’s corporate environment and Chicago crime

Citadel's Ken Griffin (Citadel, iStock)
Citadel's Ken Griffin (Citadel, iStock)

Miami nabbed another deep-pocketed hedge fund billionaire – and his business.

Citadel founder Ken Griffin, the wealthiest resident of Illinois, is moving his family and corporate headquarters to Miami from Chicago, multiple news outlets reported, citing a letter to employees. Griffin has long criticized Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, and lashed out at Chicago’s crime rate.

“Miami is a vibrant, growing metropolis that embodies the American dream – embracing the possibilities of what can be achieved,” Griffin said in the letter. He said he’s eager to start “rapidly expanding Citadel in a city still rich in diversity and abounding with energy.”

South Florida has become a magnet for companies that have shunned their out-of-state headquarters for the Sunshine State, including Fintech FundKite, Israeli airline El Al Israel Airlines and the Gebbia family’s Sibert Financial and Rise Financial.

Citadel joins investment firms including D1 Capital Partners, Elliott Management Corp. and Melvin Capital Management with a Florida presence, making the state a new satellite of New York and Connecticut for the hedge-fund industry, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Citadel is headquartered in The Loop on South Dearborn Street and has about 1,000 employees in Chicago, according to a memo from the company obtained by Crain’s. The Miami headquarters will house about 300 staff and eventually be located in a tower being developed by Sterling Bay in Miami’s Brickell Bay.

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The shift to a permanent building will take several years, a Citadel spokesperson told The Real Deal in an email. The company already has some employees in a leased space at the Southeast Financial Tower at 200 South Biscayne Boulevard..

Citadel is the third large corporation to announce that it would leave Chicago in recent weeks, after Boeing and Caterpillar said they would move their headquarters out of state. Kellogg, however, this week said it would break up the company into three divisions and one would be based in Chicago.

Griffin hasn’t been shy about his desire to leave Chicago. In a May interview with Bloomberg, he said he was concerned about the city’s direction.

“We’re getting to the point that if things don’t change,” we’re gone,” he told the outlet. “Things aren’t changing.”

Griffin’s decision came as Griffin’s favored gubernatorial candidate, Republican Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, has fallen behind in the polls. Griffin backed Irvin’s bid for the GOP nomination with $50 million. Pritzker is seeking a second term.

Read more

Citadel's Ken Griffin (Getty, iStock)
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[Crain’s] – Rachel Herzog, with assistance from Lidia Dinkova and Katherine Kallergis

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