Mohamed El-Erian

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  • 10 Apr 2014 at 4:27 PM

Bill Gross Wants El-Erian To Say It To His Face

Gross, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Trish Regan today, said El-Erian’s departure is still a mystery for him and a disappointment for the firm, which manages the world’s biggest bond fund. “I would say, ‘Come on, Mohamed, tell us why’,” Gross said in the interview. [Bloomberg, earlier]

As those of you who follow the news out of Newport Beach, California know, the past couple months have not been the best for Bill Gross. First, Pimco co-CEO Mohammed El-Erian announced that he would be parting ways with the bond giant. Then, the Wall Street Journal detailed his “What the fuck are you looking at” management style, in an article that also revealed Gross’s nickname for himself: Secretariat. Next, Reuters refused to print his theory that El-Erian had penned the Journal story himself, and instead made him not look great by quoting him as saying that El-Erian was waging a campaign to undermine him and that ME-E had Reuterswrapped around his charming right finger.” Along the way, people have offered up suggestions re: how you solve a problem like Bill Gross, which have included not investing with him, slashing his $200 million/year salary, teaching him remedial strategies for acting like a sentient human being who would not admonish someone for daring to look him in the eye and, most recently, putting him out to pasture. Read more »

In mid-February, a group of current and former Pimco employees were invited to a private farewell party for Mohamed El-Erian on March 10, to mark his impending departure as chief executive of the world’s largest bond fund. El-Erian soon realized it was not a good idea, according to three sources who had received the invitations and are in contact with him…El-Erian postponed the party soon after the March 6 Reuters report, suggesting to colleagues and friends that he did not want things to become awkward for his guests, and out of respect for the tense situation at Pimco, the sources said. [Reuters, earlier]

Back in the day, as in up until the last week in February, PIMCO founder Bill Gross’s management style could be summed up as: “Don’t look at me, don’t speak to me, don’t breathe near me.” When he did deign to communicate with his employees, it was to berate them for polluting his airspace by talking (even about investments), dock their pay for omitting a “p.33″ on a presentation, or inform them they owed him 10 thousand dollars for sitting down.

After the Wall Street Journal detailed Gross’s approach to dealing with people in an article that suggested it may have played a part in co-CEO Mohamed El-Erian’s decision to leave the firm, Gross did what any senior executive of a global investment management company would do, and called up another news outlet with the conspiracy theory that El-Erian had actually ghost-written the Journal piece as part of a “campaign to undermine [him]” and whine that everyone was on his former colleague’s “side.”

Unfortunately for Gross, that ended up backfiring and he was forced to turn to plan B: do his best impression of a human: Read more »

As you have probably heard by now, late last week Pimco co-founder Bill Gross made an inadvisable call to Reuters, the details of which can be found here. In short, Gross was responding to a Journal article that highlighted tension around the office that likely contributed to CEO Mohamed El-Erian choosing to depart his post; things like Gross’s insistence on absolute silence on the trading floor, letting it be known that employees are not to look him in the eye, slashing people’s bonuses for forgetting to number presentation pages, telling someone to cut him a check for $10,000 to make up for failing to stand when clients were in the office, and uttering the words “If only Mohamed would let me, I could run all the $2 trillion myself…I’m Secretariat…Why would you bet on anyone other than Secretariat?” while holding court with a bunch of traders.

Perhaps in a somewhat misguided attempt to get his side of the story out to the press, Gross told Reuters that the Journal article, written by Greg Zuckerman and Kirsten Grind, had actually been authored by El-Erian, as part of a campaign to “undermine me,” “indicated that he had been monitoring El-Erian’s phone calls,” and when it became apparent that the news outlet was not simply going to run a story vindicating Gross without any kind of supporting evidence that El-Erian had indeed ghost-written the Journal story, “You’re on his side. Great, he’s got you, too, wrapped around his charming right finger.” (According to a spokesman for Pimco, “Gross…categorically denies saying this firm ever listened in on Mr. El-Erian’s phone calls or that Mr. El-Erian ‘wrote’ any previous media article.”)

So! Probably kind of an awkward day to be working out of the Newport Beach office. For employees who live in fear of saying the wrong thing– or saying anything, period– in front of Gross in good times, anxiety is likely running high. For them, some tips re: how to make it out alive in the coming weeks with your body parts and bonuses intact: Read more »

Opening Bell: 03.07.14

Exclusive: Pimco’s Gross declares El-Erian is ‘trying to undermine me’ (Reuters)
Gross told Reuters that he had “evidence” that El-Erian “wrote” a February 24 article in the Journal, which described the worsening relationship between the two men as Pimco’s performance deteriorated last year, including a showdown in which they squared off against each other in front of more than a dozen colleagues at the firm’s Newport Beach, California headquarters. Gross, who oversaw more than $1.91 trillion in assets as of the end of last year and who is known on Wall Street as the ‘Bond King’, said in a phone call to Reuters last Friday: “I’m so sick of Mohamed trying to undermine me.” When asked if Reuters could see the evidence about El-Erian and the allegation he was involved in the article, Gross said: “You’re on his side. Great, he’s got you, too, wrapped around his charming right finger.” He said he knew that El-Erian, who had been widely seen as the heir apparent to Gross but is now due to leave in mid-March, had been in contact with Reuters as well as the Wall Street Journal. Gross indicated he had been monitoring El-Erian’s phone calls…A Pimco spokesman said in an emailed statement: “Mr. Gross did not make the statements Reuters attributes to him. He categorically denies saying this firm ever listened in on Mr. El-Erian’s phone calls or that Mr. El-Erian ‘wrote’ any previous media article.”

Putin Sparking Worst Stock Rout Since Moscow Crackdown (Bloomberg)
The last time Russian stocks fell as much as they have this week was when President Vladimir Putin cracked down on protesters following his election in May 2012. Putin’s incursion into Ukraine’s Crimea region, like the imprisonment of demonstrators following his return to the presidency two years ago, is sparking investor concern that Russia’s economic growth will falter as the U.S. and Europe threaten the country with sanctions. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian companies in the U.S. has fallen 5.1 percent this week, the most since the measure dropped 11 percent in the five days to May 18, 2012.

Man called Bitcoin’s father denies ties, leads LA car chase (Reuters)
In the afternoon, the silver-haired, bespectacled Nakamoto stepped outside, dressed in a gray sport coat and green striped shirt, with a pen tucked in his shirt pocket. He was mobbed by reporters and told them he was looking for someone who understood Japanese to buy him a free lunch. Newsweek estimates his wealth at $400 million. “I’m not involved in Bitcoin. Wait a minute, I want my free lunch first. I’m going with this guy,” Nakamoto said, pointing at a reporter from AP. “I’m not in Bitcoin, I don’t know anything about it,” he said again while walking down the street with several cameras at his heels. He and the AP reporter made their way to a nearby sushi restaurant with media in tow, before leaving and heading downtown. Los Angeles Times reporter Joe Bel Bruno followed the pair and described the chase in a running stream of tweets. Eventually, the pair dashed into the Associated Press offices in downtown Los Angeles.

Washington state issues first legal-marijuana business license (AP)
Sean Green, who has operated medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane and the Seattle suburb of Shoreline, proclaimed the document “beautiful” as it was handed to him at a state Liquor Control Board meeting in Olympia. The license will allow him to grow 21,000 square feet of cannabis at his Spokane facility — the first pot that will be grown for sale under the highly taxed system approved by voters in 2012. The possession of marijuana became legal for adults over 21 soon after the vote, but it’s still illegal to grow or sell it for recreational use until pot shops open in the state later this year. Green plans to start by raising marijuana starter plants to sell to other growers, and later expand to growing buds for retail pot shops. “Cannabis prohibition is over,” Green declared to applause from a room packed with his supporters. “I’m coming home with jobs, Spokane.”

Martha Stewart Gives Sex Advice, Says She Had a Prison Name in Reddit Ask Me Anything (USW)
Stewart’s fans didn’t waste any time, asking her about bedroom secrets to abide by. “Always take a bath before and after,” Stewart said. When one suggested to just do the dirty during a bath, she quipped: “That’s good too, and don’t forget to brush your teeth.” She added: “What’s a d*ldo?” when asked how to clean the bed sheets afterward. Stewart’s AMA had its TMI moments, but she also chatted about her famous pals. “I wish I were closer friends with Snoop Dogg,” she admitted…Stewart braved the slew of questions, but also seemed to reach her limit when asked of her 2004 stint in jail. “I think I did, but I can’t remember,” she said on whether or not she had a prison name. “I don’t think about the past.” Read more »