Bridgewater appoints co-CEOs as top executive quits for US Senate run

Bridgewater Associates has appointed two co-chief executives to replace David McCormick, who is leaving the world’s largest hedge fund for an expected run for the US Senate.

The firm said it was promoting Nir Bar Dea, previously deputy chief executive, to share the top job with Mark Bertolini, co-chair of Bridgewater’s operating board of directors and a former healthcare executive. At 65, Bertolini is 25 years older than his co-chief executive.

A statement signed by Ray Dalio, the fund’s billionaire founder, said McCormick was leaving to explore a run “for the open Senate seat in his home state of Pennsylvania”.

McCormick, whose wife Dina Powell McCormick is an executive at Goldman Sachs and a former member of the Trump administration, had been the last in a number of executives recruited by Dalio and Bridgewater to transform it from a founder-led firm to a more durable business.

At Bridgewater, Dalio and his two co-chief investment officers, Bob Prince and Greg Jensen, invest the fund’s roughly $150bn of assets while the chief executive manages the day-to-day running of the firm.

The firm said the “co-CEO model” it was adopting would give it “a powerful combination of Nir, a well-respected internal leader . . . and Mark, who has enormous experience”.

Bar Dea, who joined Bridgewater in 2015, was previously an adviser to the Israeli mission to the UN and a platoon leader in the Israel Defense Forces.

Bertolini, who survived a serious skiing accident in 2004, is a veteran of the US healthcare industry and was chief executive of health insurer Aetna for eight years before it was sold to CVS. But he has relatively little experience of hedge funds.

Bridgewater is known for its idiosyncratic culture of “radical truth and radical transparency” and a culture of fierce debating that has led to high staff turnover as well as long meetings.

McCormick, a former senior US Treasury official responsible for international economic relations under George W Bush, joined Bridgewater in 2009, becoming co-chief executive in 2017 and sole chief executive last year.

He has been preparing to join the Republican primary field for the Senate seat in Pennsylvania being vacated by Pat Toomey. The contest in this year’s midterm elections could be pivotal in determining the balance of power in the Senate, which is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

In joining the Republican primary field, McCormick would be up against Mehmet Oz, the television celebrity physician known as “Dr Oz”, who is a leading contender for his party’s nomination.

But McCormick is hoping that Republicans in the state will prefer a more mainstream, business-friendly candidate in the mould of Glenn Youngkin, the former Carlyle executive who won the Virginia Governor’s race as a Republican in November.

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