Hedge fund operator Och-Ziff Capital Management will be no more next month, as the $33 billion firm will rebrand to “Sculptor Capital Management” in an effort to rid itself of the taint from a foreign bribery scandal.
Ziff’s clients were notified of the change—scheduled for Sept.12—in a Monday letter, which said individual fund names will also switch to “Sculptor,” from “Oz,” a contraction of Och-Ziff. The new name was chosen because it “evokes the dedication, persistence, and vision that embody what we strive for daily as stewards of your capital,” according to the letter.
The firm is looking to repair its image, which has been harmed by a multiyear bribery scandal involving one of its former executives. The former head of the firm’s European operations, Michael Cohen, had paid bribes to top African government officials.
Och-Ziff disclosed in 2014 it was being investigated. The financial impact on the firm was $27 billion in total client outflows over the next five years, not to mention the $400 million fine it paid in the bribery case’s settlement. Cohen, who was ousted by the hedge fund, was charged with fraud in January 2018. In May, he pleaded guilty to a single count of lying to federal authorities.
The organization has restructured its leadership over the past several years, including former Credit Suisse executive Robert Shafir’s CEO appointment last year, and the recent hire of Louisa Church as head of investor relations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. But one titanic shift could also be responsible for the name change: Founder Dan Och retired as chairman in March.
“These steps transferred governance and ownership to the current partners while establishing long-term incentives that align the firm’s partners and our investors,” the letter said. “These changes ensure continuity in our investment team while recognizing that we have begun a new chapter in our history.”