Viking Hedge Fund’s Dris Upitis Said to Resign as Senior Manager

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Dris Upitis, one of four management committee members at hedge fund Viking Global Investors LP, resigned, the second high-level departure in 10 months after Chief Investment Officer David Ott stepped down in April, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Upitis and colleagues Tom Purcell, Dan Sundheim and Jim Parsons have overseen most of Viking’s $10 billion in capital since Ott stepped down in April, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Clients were notified of Upitis’ resignation in a note last week, the people said.

Upitis was an analyst at Greenwich, Connecticut-based Viking Global for six years before being promoted to senior portfolio manager last year. The firm is run by Andreas Halvorsen, one of the “Tiger Cubs” who helped build Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management LLC into the world’s biggest hedge-fund group in the 1990s.

After losing 4 percent in the first six months of 2010, Viking Global Equities gained 10 percent in the second half of the year after the fund reshuffled the managers, the people said. The long-short fund rose 3.8 percent last year, investors were told in the letter. That trailed the 7 percent increase of the BAIF Hedge Fund Index.

Halvorsen didn’t respond to two telephone messages left with his office seeking comment. A person answering a number listed for Upitis said he no longer works at the firm.

13% a Year

Viking, which Halvorsen founded with Ott and Brian Olson in 1999, returned an average of 13 percent annually in the decade ended Dec. 31, one of the people said. Viking Global Equities lost 1.9 percent in 2008, when the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. bankruptcy triggered the global financial crisis, and the fund climbed 20 percent in 2009, the person said.

Halvorsen started a new fund two years ago to focus on buying stocks after selling them short, or betting on price declines, became more risky. The Viking Long Fund began trading in January 2009 after raising about $80 million, the firm said in a regulatory filing. The Viking Long Fund gained 14.5 percent in 2010, one of the people said. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. stocks returned 15 percent, including dividends.

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