- Fried is former Investec banker who founded Grovepoint Capital
- Move comes as family offices experience "lackluster" returns
Bradley Fried, a member of the Bank of England’s Court of Directors and former chief executive officer of Investec Plc, is joining South African billionaire Nathan “Natie’’ Kirsh’s family office as its new CEO.
Fried will oversee Kirsh Group, the management company that holds Kirsh’s disparate assets, which include two U.S. wholesale grocery businesses, commercial and residential real estate, and private equity investments on four continents. Kirsh’s fortune is valued at $6.2 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“I’ve met many chief executives, many who were outstanding at strategy, outstanding at execution,” said Fried in a telephone interview. “In Natie, I’ve found an extraordinary visionary. At the age of 50 I almost feel as if I’m being apprenticed all over again.”
Fried starts in November and takes over from Ron Sandler, the former CEO of Lloyd’s of London, who Kirsh said will remain working as a trustee and adviser to the family.
A Cape Town native, Fried worked for McKinsey & Co Inc. in New York before moving to London in 1999 to work for U.K.-listed Investec. He resigned as CEO from the bank in 2010 to found his own investment firm, Grovepoint Capital, which Fried said has completed “a couple billion dollars” in deals since inception.
Fried became acquainted with Kirsh shortly after he relocated to London and credits the billionaire with helping his venture prosper in its first five years. He said Kirsh has advised on all of Grovepoint’s deals, which include acquiring Total SA’s U.K. downstream assets and buying a stake in Israeli microalgae farm Algatechnologies. He’ll continue to be involved with Grovepoint and remain on the court of the Bank of England until his term’s expiration in May 2019.
The move comes one month after Ashvin Chhabra, the former chief investment officer of Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, joined as president of the family office for hedge fund billionaire James Simons. Both appointments were made as family offices worldwide suffered "lackluster" returns, according to a report released in September by UBS AG and London-based research firm Campden Wealth.
Kirsh, 83, made his first fortune in Africa in 1958, starting with a Swaziland corn-milling business that later evolved into a dominant food retailer in his native South Africa. Today the billionaire’s most valuable asset is Jetro Holdings, a New York-based company that manages Jetro Cash & Carry and Restaurant Depot, which had more than $9 billion in combined revenue in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Fried said he won’t be directly involved with the operations of Jetro or Kirsh’s other subsidiary companies, which all have their own CEOs. He said his role will be to oversee existing investments, hunt for new opportunities and prepare the group for a time when Kirsh is no longer involved.
“Natie said to me, over time families make transitions, and I’d like you to be there during one of these transitional moments," Fried said. “And I said to him, I’d like you to teach me everything you can.”