Farallon Founder Steyer To Retire

Oct 23 2012 | 2:02pm ET

Farallon Capital Management founder Thomas Steyer will retire from the hedge fund he set up more than 25 years ago, the latest member of the industry's old guard to step down.

In a letter to investors, Steyer said that Andrew Spokes would become sole managing partner of the San Francisco-based hedge fund, which has $20 billion in assets under management. Farallon's partners will buy out his share of the firm and he will leave by the end of the year, he said. He will remain Farallon's second-largest investor.

"My role has shrunk over time, [Spokes'] has grown, and rightfully so," Steyer wrote. "The transfer to Andrew has proceeded steadily and deliberately for five years. Now it is time for him to take the reins alone."

Spokes, a British native, joined Farallon in 1997 and became co-managing partner in 2007, when he moved to San Francisco after stints in Asia and London. He was designated Steyer's successor in 2010.

Steyer, who is 55, founded Farallon in 1986 after working at Goldman Sachs' risk-arbitrage team under Robert Rubin, who would go on to serve as U.S. Treasury Secretary under former President Bill Clinton, and at Hellman & Friedman. He joins the likes of Caxton Associates' Bruce Kovner, Centaurus Capital's John Arnold, Duquesne Capital Management's Stanley Druckenmiller, Carl Icahn and George Soros among the hedge-fund chieftans to have retired in recent years.

Steyer said he would focus on "giving back" in retirement. Philanthropic and political efforts have taken an increasing amount of his time in recent years; Steyer spoke about sustainable energy policy at this year's Democratic National Convention and has been a major donor to President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, leaving him out of step with most of his fellow hedge fund managers.

"I want my life to revolve around service in one form or another, including continuing participation in our community bank, in encouraging the advanced energy economy and in specific policy initiatives here in California," Steyer wrote.

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