Amid rising speculations that Avenue Capital chairman and CEO Marc Lasry will soon be appointed as the U.S. ambassador to France by President Barack Obama, the $12 billion hedge fund told investors that it has named a new chief investment officer, according to Katya Wachtel of Reuters who reviewed the memo.
Marc Lasry, a long time Democrat who funded Barack Obama’s re-election campaign last year, founded Avenue Capital in 1995 with his sister Sonia Gardener. On Friday, Sonia Gardener sent an email to Avenue Capital investors. Though she did not explicitly mention Marc Lasry’s possible overseas move, she mentioned that the New York-based hedge fund has named Richard Furst as chief investment officer. The memo Reuters reviewed was not signed by Marc Lasry; Richard Furst, who has been with the firm since 2004, currently manages Avenue Capital’s European investment strategy.
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Gardener also said that she has been managing the fund for almost two decades as president. Avenue Capital has over 200 employees. If the Senate approves Marc Lasry, he will be the first hedge fund manager to serve as the U.S. ambassador.
Last week, former President Bill Clinton said that the White House has notified Lasry about his nomination. In addition, a person familiar with the situation confirmed the reports.
Even if Lasry moves to France, Avenue Capital investors are likely to stay with the fund that sees big opportunities in Europe. Investors said that over the last few years, Lasry handed over the day-to-day responsibilities to his sister. People familiar with the matter said that Lasry wants to return to Avenue Capital after his stint in France is over. Lawyers representing the hedge fund said that Marc can do that by putting his stake in the company in a “blind trust” administered by a third party.
Avenue Capital, which recently launched a new fund, has 80 percent of its assets locked in private-equity like instruments. Only investors can withdraw the remaining 20 percent quarterly, or annually.