Kenneth C. Griffin, the billionaire founder of Chicago hedge-fund firm Citadel LLC, filed for divorce from his wife of 11 years citing “irreconcilable differences.”
Griffin, 45, said an “irretrievable breakdown” of his marriage to Anne Dias Griffin, 43, triggered his request for a divorce, according to a four-page filing yesterday in Chicago state court. The couple has been separated for more than a year, he said. Griffin asked for an order of joint custody of their three children, who are all under six years of age.
“Kenneth and Anne signed a premarital agreement dated July 18, 2003, which governs all issues resulting from the parties’ marriage, including but not limited to maintenance and the division of marital and non-marital property,” Griffin’s lawyers said in the filing.
The divorce won’t affect the finances of $20 billion Citadel, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. French-born Anne Griffin, who once ran her own hedge fund, isn’t listed as an owner of Citadel, according to a regulatory filing. Kenneth Griffin is worth $5.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index.
Kenneth Griffin’s protection of Citadel from domestic legal issues is to be expected, attorney Lois Liberman, chair of the matrimonial group at Blank Rome LLP in New York, said.
“It’s usual, especially given that this was his second marriage, that he would have insulated his hedge-fund firm from any distribution whatsoever,” Liberman said. “Usually there would have been some dollar amount given to her in consideration for making that waiver, and usually the longer the marriage, the more money she gets.”
Anne Griffin’s attorney, Robert Stephan Cohen of New York, said Kenneth Griffin didn’t give his wife notice of the filing.
“Ken Griffin unilaterally filed a divorce petition today with no notice to either me or my client, knowing full well that she had just left for summer vacation with their three young children and would therefore be unable to respond,” Cohen said today in a statement. “Anne’s highest priority remains her family, especially the well-being of her children. She is hopeful that this personal matter can be resolved privately and in the best interests of her children.”
Alexandra LaManna, a spokeswoman for Anne Griffin at public relations firm Sard Verbinnen & Co., declined to comment on whether the divorce would affect Citadel, or what assets -- if any -- Anne Griffin may seek in the divorce.
Karen Krehbiel, a lawyer for Kenneth Griffin, declined to comment on whether Anne Griffin is legally entitled to seek a portion of Citadel’s assets, or on the contention the wife didn’t receive notice of the divorce filing.
Krehbiel said in a statement that the “family asks for privacy as they work through this process and focus on the well-being of their children.”
Anne Griffin is a managing partner of Aragon Global Management LLC in Chicago, an investment firm she started in 2001 with backing from hedge-fund manager Julian Robertson.
At its peak, Aragon managed $200 million in assets. The firm returned money to clients in 2009, saying Anne Griffin wanted to focus on family and civic activities.
Aragon now oversees her wealth, according to her biography, provided by her public relations firm. She started her finance career at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and has also worked at hedge-fund firms Soros Fund Management LLC and Viking Global Investors LP, according to the biography.
The Griffins, prominent in Chicago’s art and philanthropy circles, married in 2003, holding their wedding in the garden of the Palace of Versailles outside Paris. It was Anne Griffin’s first marriage. Kenneth Griffin’s first marriage ended in divorce in 1996, according to court papers.
Griffin, who has credited his passion for art to his wife, has owned work by impressionists and contemporary artists including Jasper Johns. The couple were on the annual list of top 200 art collectors published this month by Art News magazine, and have donated $19 million to the Art Institute of Chicago.
The couple started the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation in 2009 and donated $16 million in 2010 to the Anne & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, which named an emergency care center after the Griffins. Kathleen Lurie, a spokeswoman for the hospital declined to comment.
Kenneth Griffin, who founded Citadel in 1990, started trading convertible bonds from his dorm room at Harvard University. His fortune is derived from the money he made managing Citadel Advisors. About $5.3 billion of Citadel’s assets under management belonged to employees, according to an April filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Griffin owns about 85 percent of that amount, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index.
Thomas Danziger, a partner at Danziger, Danziger & Muro, who specializes in art law, said the division of assets belonging to art collectors such as the Griffins will be of interest to auction houses.
“Auction houses rely on great divorces just like they do on deaths of great collectors,” Danziger said in an interview. “It’s the reality of the art market.”
The case is Griffin v. Griffin, 2014D006793, Cook County, Illinois, Circuit Court, Domestic Relations Division (Chicago).
To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Harris in federal court in Chicago at firstname.lastname@example.org; Saijel Kishan in New York at email@example.com; Katherine Burton in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org