Secretariat

  • 09 Jun 2014 at 4:02 PM

Bill Gross Strangely Silent On Horse Race

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]

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 »

Bill Gross set to blow again in 5…4…3…2… 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 »

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"]

Back in January, Mohamed El-Erian announced that he would soon be stepping down from his posts as CIO and co-CEO of Pimco. In the two months since, Bill Gross, his former boss, has promoted six employees to do his job as chief investment officer, and offered at least three reasons why El-Erian actually did the fund a favor by boxing up his things and leaving.

One thing that hasn’t really been discussed all that much, besides in the purely speculative sense, is why El-Erian is leaving. Was it the pull of the academic world? Did he want to spend more time with his mustache? Were the early mornings becoming a grind? Journal reporters Greg Zuckerman and Kirsten Grind spent some time investigating the question and it seems the answer– how to put this?– is that as a boss, Bill Gross has a tendency to act like an insufferable prick. Read more »