Effective Feb. 5, Robert Shafir will succeed Dan Och as chief executive of the $32 billion publicly traded hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC. Shafir, the former CEO of Credit Suisse Americas and cohead of private banking and wealth, will step into the day-to-day leadership and firm strategy role. Och will continue to serve as board chairman through March 31, 2019, according to a company press release.
“Rob is a world-class executive who will be a great asset to Oz as we continue our evolution as a firm,” Och said, noting that his career experience of more than 30 years will enable Och-Ziff’s nearly 150 investment professionals to “continue to focus solely on what they do best—generating returns for our clients. I am confident this will be a seamless transition and look forward to building on our strong 2017 results.”
The shift is a week after William Barr, the former US Attorney who serves as chairman of the corporate responsibility and compliance committee, and as a member of the audit committee and the nominating committee, told the Oz board he will be leaving at the end of December. “Mr. Barr’s resignation relates to a disagreement over CEO succession, as well as business and governance plans for the company,” according to SEC filings.
Until December, Och’s mentee and co-chief investment officer, James Levin, 34, seemed to be the heir-apparent, but over Christmas weekend, Och changed his mind and Och-Ziff sent a letter to investors that now wasn’t “the right time” to transition to Levin, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Following legal battles over bribery allegations regarding business in Africa, Och-Ziff shares have lost more than 50% of their value in the past two years, according to Bloomberg.
Prior to joining Credit Suisse, Shafir worked at Lehman Brothers for 17 years, serving as head of Global Equities, was an executive board member, and held other senior roles, including head of European Equities and global head of Equities Trading. He has a BA in Economics from Lafayette College and an MBA from Columbia Business School.