Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates hired Jon Rubinstein, a former Apple Inc. engineer who helped invent the iPod, as co-chief executive officer, as the $154 billion firm transitions management away from its founder.
Greg Jensen, currently co-CEO and co-chief investment officer, will drop his administrative duties and focus on his investing role, according to a letter the firm sent to clients. He will help oversee management of the company at least until May, when Rubinstein, 59, joins.
The hire comes after reports of tensions between Dalio and Jensen, who had been considered Dalio’s heir apparent. Dalio said last month the firm was evaluating Jensen’s dual roles. Bridgewater started its succession planning in 2010, and has sold stakes to other institutions and set up a committee to run the firm as part of the transition.
“We have concluded that in order to have pervasive excellent management, we need CEOs who can give their full attention to the company’s management, and we want Greg to shift his full attentions to investment responsibilities,” the firm said in the letter. “Also, because technology is so important to us, we wanted one of our co-CEOs to be very strong in that area.”
Rubinstein, who was born and raised in New York, was a longtime deputy to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and played a key role in the company’s reemergence from near-bankruptcy to technology industry pioneer. As the senior vice president of hardware engineering, he helped create the translucent iMac and the iPod.
Moves to Palm
In 2006, Rubinstein surprised many people when he left Apple to become executive chairman of Palm Inc., a maker of handheld computers. By 2009, as the company was struggling to compete against the iPhone, he took over as CEO before helping orchestrate the sale of Palm to Hewlett Packard Co. in 2010. Rubinstein left the company in 2012.
"Technology is pervasively important at Bridgewater, especially since one of our major strategic initiatives in the coming years is to continue building out the systemized decision-making," the firm said in the letter. "Jon’s track-record of building world class products will be a tremendous boost to the efforts we already have underway."
Dalio started Bridgewater in 1975 from his two-bedroom apartment and grew it into a huge asset manager with 1,500 employees. It’s Pure Alpha hedge fund is the largest in the world.
Dalio runs the firm according to 210 principles -- everything from "Don’t try to please everyone” (No. 210) to “Don’t bet too much on anything. Make 15 or more good, uncorrelated bets” (No. 197-d). He promotes “radical transparency,” encouraging employees to critique each other in meetings, which are taped and archived.