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NEWSLETTERS & ALERTS
Citadel Securities CEO Out Ending 'Rags to Riches' Story
[Photo: Ken Griffin, by E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune]
Kevin Turner, the CEO of Citadel Securities, is leaving the market-making firm just 4 months after he was hired. Peng Zhao, previously global head of market making, has replaced Turner as CEO. When it was announced in July that Turner was coming aboard, Zhao was promoted to chief scientist, a role created specifically for him. Zhao has worked at Citadel Securities since 2006.
“RAGS-TO-RICHES” ASCENT. Turner started as a Wal-Mart cashier and ascended to executive at that retailer. In 2005, he was wooed away to Microsoft, where he spent 11 years as COO. He then was hired in July 2016 as CEO of Citadel Securities, having never previously worked in financial markets.
The 2 people who built the business Turner would shepherd at Citadel Securities - Jamil Nazarali and Paul Hamill - had years of executive experience in their fields, along with a deep understanding of what it means to report to Griffin.
- Nazarali, who runs Citadel Securities’ equities and options unit, previously was an executive at Knight Capital Group
- Hamill, who heads its business in fixed income, rates and currencies, joined from UBS Group.
At Citadel Securities, the trading firm affiliated with Ken Griffin’s $26 billion hedge fund, Turner, 51, joined an industry unlike the retail and tech worlds where he had thrived. The company says it handles about 18% of volume in the U.S. stock market, accounts for more than 1/3 of all retail stock orders, and matches more than one in 5 of all U.S. listed options trades.
“This is the biggest opportunity I’ve ever been a part of in terms of reshaping an industry.” - - Turner, in a November interview.
CITADEL, PERHAPS A DIFFICULT PLACE TO WORK. No explanation was given for the termination. If there were any dissatisfaction with Turner, it had not been publicized. And on Friday, when the change was announced, Griffin credited him with making a “lasting impact.” “Kevin has made important contributions across many areas of Citadel Securities,” Griffin said in a statement.
Turner’s departure was the 2nd executive loss for Citadel Securities in recent weeks. Tian Zeng, who led Citadel Securities into the market for credit-default swaps, left earlier this month after a year at the firm. Griffin has seen executives come and go in short order before. In 2008, he hired former Merrill Lynch exec Rohit D’Souza to spearhead a new investment bank, and he quit a year later. His replacement, Patrik Edsparr, was ousted after 7 months in the role following disagreements over business strategy and management.
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