Back in January, when Jeffrey Gundlach was fired from TCW, his bosses sort of assumed that everyone would be happy to see the guy go. He was known to ask dining companions, "What's it like having lunch with a genius" and he forced people to refer to him as "The Godfather" and "The Pope." Sure, he had some good qualities (Gundlach collected the finest dildos from all over the world, had an entire library of porn in his office, including all the classics-- A Trip Down Mammary Lane and the full Dr. Fellatio series, and was a stoner and a gifted drummer), but management just figured JG's ego had grown too big to handle, and thought that everyone would be happy to say good riddance. Oh, how wrong they thought.
TCW proved inept in its efforts to stanch the turmoil caused by Gundlach's departure. On the rainy Monday morning after he was fired, TCW employees gathered in conference rooms for a companywide conference call. CEO Stern told his troops that the downpour was a sign of renewal, and that TCW would emerge as "a firm that has respect for everyone within the firm."But Day, TCW's founder and chairman, was less temperate in his remarks. He told the employees that he had been through this before -- i.e., with Marks -- and that there was no other choice. "It sort of reminds me a bit of General Washington crossing the Delaware," he said. "The general was in the back of the boat. It would be like a soldier getting up, trying to rock the boat, expecting to sink the boat. His choices are very simple. You shoot the soldier. You throw him off the boat."
After a pause, nervous laughter emanated over the speakers. Some of Gundlach's former colleagues were horrified. A few started crying. Others walked out. "Whatever people may say about [Gundlach], here's a guy that has been working for his company for over 20 years and has made a lot of money for investors," says Luz Padilla, a fund manager at the company. "After that call, I was just incensed."
By this point scores of former TCW have chosen the DP-friendly environment Gundlach created at his new firm, DoubleLine, as have many a former TCW client. Others may have sided with Gunds for his ability to consistently make it rain (though, really, the Weapons of Ass Destruction and Swallow My Pride 2 DVDS, which you can't find anywhere anymore, were mostly the main draw). And the chance to be around a guy who tells stories like this.
An interview with Jeffrey Gundlach is less like conversation than like listening to a manic stream-of-consciousness monologue. Consider Gundlach's description of his aborted stint in a math Ph.D. program at Yale (after getting an undergraduate degree in the same subject at Dartmouth): "It was a four-year Ph.D. deal. And they gave me a full scholarship, and it was very hard to get into. There were only seven people accepted, and they had hundreds of applicants. And one of the guys, he was Korean, he had come in via Toronto. I was the only American left. The other American had flunked out. There was a Chinese guy who had polio. That guy was smart. That guy was something else. He had crutches. He had horrible dandruff. He never took a shower, but he was one smart motherf----r, let me tell you. That guy is probably the smartest guy I ever met in my life. And he was my friend. I was the only guy he would be friends with, and there was this other guy, this Korean guy out of Korea, out of Toronto, and I didn't like him very much, and I was walking down the street, and there he was. It was like, 'Hey, Jeff!' They called me Jeff in the day. 'Hey!' You know, good to see you. I was Ike -- I had this really heebie-jeebie feeling, and he goes, 'Let's go to the bookstore and get our books.' And I was like, 'Uh, I don't know.' And he was like, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'Uh, I don't know.' And it hit me right then. I said, 'I'm not going back. I'm not doing it. I can't do it. This is pointless.' "
Firing The $70 Billion Man [Fortune]