Citadel Hires at Least Six People From Merrill for Asia Funds

By Bei Hu

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) — Citadel Investment Group LLC, the hedge fund manager with more than $20 billion in assets, hired Adwait Masurkar from Merrill Lynch & Co. to boost its Asian distressed and special situations investments team, said two people familiar with the decision.

Masurkar joined the Hong Kong office of the Chicago-based hedge fund as a director in late July. Five other former Merrill colleagues are expected to join this month, said the people, who declined to be identified as the information is not public.

All six will work under David Noh, head of Citadel’s Asian merchant banking division, which makes distressed, special situations, merger and acquisitions-related investments, said the people. Special situation funds seek to profit from investments in companies undergoing corporate events such as asset sales, spinoffs and shareholder lawsuits.

Citadel is hiring after $480 billion of asset writedowns and credit losses at the world’s largest financial firms since the beginning of 2007 led to more than 100,000 job cuts and dimmed bankers’ compensation outlooks.

The hedge fund manager in April hired Noh from Merrill, where he had been head of corporate principal investments for the Pacific Rim, Citadel said in a statement then. All six of the new hires previously worked under Noh in principal investments.

Rebuilding Team

Hong Kong-based Noh is rebuilding his Citadel team after recent departures. Two division directors, Donald Ewer and Sandeep Gupta, left last month to pursue other opportunities, said the people.

Citadel employs about 70 people in Hong Kong. It also opened an office in Japan.

Katie Spring, a Chicago-based spokeswoman for Citadel, and Mark Tsang, a Merrill spokesman in Hong Kong, declined to comment.

Citadel was started in 1990 by Kenneth Griffin, a year after he graduated from Harvard, with less than $5 million, and built it into a manager of more than $20 billion of assets including stocks, bonds, foreign currencies and natural gas. In April, he spoke of a “Great Depression on Wall Street” during which banks and investment banks would be facing a period of “retrenchment.”

Citadel in April also hired Nick Taylor, who previously headed Credit Suisse Group‘s internal hedge fund Modal Capital Partners, to head its principal investments for Asia and Europe, a new position it created to help expand in the two regions.

Patrik Edsparr joined from JPMorgan Chase & Co. in July as head of global fixed income and chief executive officer for Citadel Europe.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bei Hu in Hong Kong at

Last Updated: August 1, 2008 01:18 EDT