Bill Gross Made It Through Entire Job Interview Without Referring To Himself As The Triple Crown Of Newport BeachBy Bess Levin
Friday afternoon, Bill Gross put up a show of support for those taking the CFA exam on Saturday, as someone who’s been there. Gross tweeted:
And yet, as of Monday at 12:45PST, more than 44 hours after California Chrome became the latest horse not to win the Triple Crown, he’d tweeted nary a statement about the Belmont Stakes or referred to its past winner, Secretariat, the American Thoroughbred with whom Gross deeply identifies. Read more »
DoubleLine Capital, the bond management firm run by Jeffrey Gundlach, said on Monday it had hired an executive from rival Pimco to run a new unit focused on developing new investment products and lines of business, particularly outside the United States. DoubleLine named Ignacio Sosa, previously Pimco’s executive vice president for global bond product management, director of its newly formed Product Solutions Group. He starts on May 12 and will report to Gundlach. Sosa’s departure comes after a management shakeup and months of investor outflows at Newport Beach, California-based Pimco. [Reuters, related]
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.”
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 »
Can I be honest with you?
The co-founder of bond behemoth Pacific Investment Management Co. on Thursday defended its competitive culture, saying in an interview that the trading floor can’t thrive on “sweet talking” alone but that the firm is still a family of sorts…In the interview, Mr. Gross, 69 years old, said he is focused on the Newport Beach, Calif.-based firm’s performance and that no one had raised concerns about his behavior. He said he understands why some employees may perceive him as difficult to work with, but that not everyone feels that way. He is challenging at times, he said, in the interest of running the company well. “It’s like dealing with family—you don’t always produce a productive family by sweet talking and always being inclusive,” Mr. Gross said. “There’s a time for soft love and time for hard love.…I can admit to both.” [WSJ, "Mr. Gross doesn’t like employees speaking with him or making eye contact"]