Tiger Names Townsend Operating Chief as Robertson Considers Expansion

Julian Robertson, founder of hedge- fund firm Tiger Management LLC, named John Townsend as chief operating officer, a move that may lead the firm to expand its decade-old business of seeding hedge fund managers.

Townsend, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive, replaces Aaron Stern, who remains at Tiger as a senior adviser, the New York-based firm said today in a statement. Tiger also named Townsend and Alex Robertson, the youngest of Julian Robertson’s three sons, as managing directors.

Townsend, 54, says future plans for Tiger could involve marketing a fund of funds using some or all of the 40 hedge funds that Robertson has seeded since 2000. It also might involve raising capital from one or more outside investors so the firm could seed even more hedge funds.

“Everything is up for discussion and exploration,” Townsend said in telephone interview. “I think Julian very much decided it is worthwhile to think about various alternatives to build out the Tiger brand.”

Julian Robertson, 78, started Tiger in 1980, and built it into one of the world’s largest hedge-fund firms. By mid-1998, assets had soared to about $22 billion on the back of Robertson’s average annual returns of 32 percent.

Seeding Managers

Over the following 18 months, losses and investor withdrawals reduced assets to about $6 billion and in March 2000, Robertson, then 67, announced he would close Tiger to outside investors.

Robertson kept his office space and began using his own fortune to seed hedge fund managers, taking a share of their profits in exchange for his investment. He now has a stable of 40 independent hedge funds that collectively manage about $23 billion. The largest, Tiger Asia Management LLC, managed by Bill Hwang, and Tiger Global Management LLC, headed by Chase Coleman, now run $3 billion to $4 billion, Townsend said.

Townsend, a native of Lumberton, North Carolina, graduated from the University of North Carolina. He was a general partner and managing director at Goldman Sachs. He served as co-head of leveraged finance before leaving the firm in 2002 and currently serves as an adviser to Stone Point Capital LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Alex, who turns 31 this weekend, joined Tiger in 2008.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Condon in Boston at ccondon4@bloomberg.net

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