Eileen Murray. Picture: BRIDGEWATER
Eileen Murray. Picture: BRIDGEWATER

New York — Eileen Murray, co-CEO  of Bridgewater Associates, is leaving the $160bn firm, marking yet another chapter in Ray Dalio’s long-running succession saga.

Murray, 61, will depart at the end of March, she said in a note to colleagues on Tuesday. Her counterpart, David McCormick, 54, will become sole CEO at Bridgewater, which operates the world’s largest hedge fund.

Dalio, Bridgewater’s billionaire founder and co-chair, subsequently wrote on Twitter about his “struggle” to put the right team in place at the top. Since he ceded day-to-day management of the firm in 2011, five people have held the title of CEO or co-CEO at various times.

With McCormick and Murray in charge together since 2017, Dalio stepped back even further. He wrote a best-selling book, Principles, made more public appearances and focused on Bridgewater’s investments. In 2018, as part of his succession plan, he turned the firm into more of an employee-owned partnership.

“Eileen’s departure marks the latest step in our successful transition from a founder-led company to a great institution,” McCormick, Dalio and co-chair John Megrue wrote in a note to clients, also on Tuesday.

Dalio, 70, has experimented with an array of CEO configurations. Greg Jensen, now one of Bridgewater’s three co-chief investment officers, did a stint in the job, as did former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein, who left in 2017.

Murray has served as co-CEO since 2014 and shared the role with McCormick for the past two-and-a-half years. In her note, she made clear Bridgewater would not be the last stop in a career that began in accounting in 1980 and evolved into technology and operations roles at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Group.

“This is my natural next step now because I have achieved my major goals and am looking for new challenges and opportunities,” Murray wrote.

In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Murray held conversations about potential roles with a number of financial firms, including Wells Fargo. A person familiar with her thinking said Murray never seriously considered any of those options and is now more likely to take a position consistent with her background in technology or reskilling the workforce displaced by artificial intelligence and robotics.

Murray rose up the ranks of Wall Street’s back offices, so-called because they do not generate revenue, to become head of global operations and technology at Morgan Stanley under former CEO and mentor John Mack. She joined Bridgewater in 2008, instantly becoming one of the most senior women in the hedge fund industry.

At the time, Bridgewater was still highly secretive and its unusual culture was the stuff of Wall Street legend. Working for Dalio, she focused on reorganising departments and functions and led the effort to outsource some of Bridgewater’s own back-office functions to Bank of New York Mellon and Northern Trust.

Recently, in his frequent writings on debt and the global economy, Dalio has attracted attention for predicting a wave of social unrest if the US does not find a way to address inequalities in wealth, education and opportunity.

McCormick, a West Point graduate and former McKinsey & Co  consultant, was a Treasury undersecretary under former president George W Bush in the early stages of the financial crisis. He joined Bridgewater in 2009.


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