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Scott Shleifer, the head of Tiger Global’s $30bn-plus private equity business, will step down from his role at the hedge fund at the end of the year.
The move will be a significant change for Tiger, a $58bn-in-assets hedge fund founded by Chase Coleman, a protégé of Julian Robertson, in 2001. Shleifer was one of Tiger’s first hires and spotted enormous opportunities from ascendant technology companies, particularly in China, where he was an early backer of ecommerce groups such as JD.com and Ctrip.com.
Shleifer moved to a multimillion-dollar estate in Palm Beach, Florida, during the coronavirus pandemic and has since worked mostly from his home or on the road visiting clients and potential investments.
Tiger has decided that having all of its investment team working from its New York headquarters was a “better operating model for our firm”, it said in a letter to investors announcing the move. Shleifer decided to step back from running the private equity unit when faced with the decision to move back to New York or stay in Florida, it said.
“Scott’s decision to make this move after two decades of successful partnership is based largely on geography,” the letter said. “Tiger Global is operating in-person out of our New York offices, whereas Scott and his family have made their home in Florida and want to stay there.”
Shleifer will remain as a senior adviser to Tiger, while his private equity role will be replaced with an investment committee chaired by Coleman and consisting of Shleifer and partners Evan Feinberg, Eric Lane and Griffin Schroeder.
The change of guard in Tiger’s private equity business comes at a fraught time for the hedge fund, which saw its assets under management soar to about $90bn as public and private technology valuations surged during the pandemic.
On Shleifer’s watch, the private equity unit earned large windfalls from early bets on Chinese ecommerce groups JD.com and Meituan, and ride- hailing app Didi Chuxing.
In more recent years he took Silicon Valley by storm by overseeing Tiger’s investments in more than 100 private technology start-ups, including FTX and OpenAI, as it earned a reputation for quickly making large investments and not seeking board representation.
But a sudden rise in interest rates beginning in 2022 left Tiger badly exposed to plunging valuations and holding a bloated portfolio of private investments with limited paths to exit. Its main fund lost half its value in 2022, before recovering strongly along with this year’s rally in tech valuations.
“[Scott] is one of the true pioneers of the crossover investing model [which mixes public and private stakes] and his passion, drive, and commitment have led to many highly profitable investments for the firm including JD.com, Ctrip.com, ByteDance, Booking.com, Apollo, and Google,” Coleman said in the letter.