Ken Griffin Citadel CEO exits Chicago for Miami

“Miami is a vibrant, growing metropolis that embodies the American dream—embracing the possibilities of what can be achieved,” Griffin’s note says. “I am excited to have recently moved to Miami with my family and look forward to rapidly expanding Citadel in a city still rich in diversity and abounding with energy.”

Added Griffin: “Chicago will continue to be important to the future of Citadel, as many of our colleagues have deep ties to Illinois. Over the past year, however, many of our Chicago teams have asked to relocate to Miami, New York and our other offices around the world.”

Griffin did not elaborate on that, but it appears to be a reference to his frequent public complaints about rising crime levels in the city and high taxes in the state.

The announcement has been widely rumored in business circles in recent days. It comes as the man Griffin backed with $50 million to run for governor, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, appears to be falling short in that bid, according to the latest poll.

Griffin himself was not available for comment to Crain’s, but a background paper released by the firm’s spokespeople indicates that among the factors on his mind were that a Citadel employee recently was stabbed a block from the company’s Dearborn Street office while walking to work, that someone attempted to carjack Griffin’s car, and that there were “mass shootings, rioting and looting a few blocks” from his home.

The memo indicates that Citadel now has about 1,000 employees in Chicago but that, unlike every one of the company’s other offices, it has been losing staff because of the difficulty of recruiting people to Chicago.

A spokesman said the new Miami headquarters, to locate eventually to a new tower being developed by Sterling Bay in Miami’s Brickell Bay, will house about 300 headquarters staff.

It is not known how many of them will come from Chicago, but relocations will begin this summer.

The statement to workers notes that among other big financial and tech firms that recently have moved to or opened offices in Miami are Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, Oracle and Hewlett-Packard.

Griffin was born in Florida, living in Daytona Beach and later Boca Raton.

The spokesman says Griffin has donated more than $600 million to local charities here in Chicago and will be making a parting gift of $100 million that will be announced in coming days.

Citadel’s move is the third body blow to the Chicago region in the last few weeks. Earlier, Boeing and Caterpillar announced they were moving their headquarters out of state, though Kellogg announced that one of the three new divisions that the company will be broken up into will be based in Chicago.

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