Värde Partners, one of the Twin Cities’ oldest and more successful private investment funds, will relocate next week to downtown from its Bloomington headquarters.
Also, Marcia Page, 55, one of the three original founders who left Cargill Financial to start Värde in 1993, will retire as co-CEO. George Hicks, 62, will become the sole CEO of Värde.
Page, who becomes chairwoman, is one of the few women to be a founder or top executive of a Minnesota financial services firm. In an interview, Page said she had accomplished her goals with Värde and she will remain one of the two largest shareholders, along with Hicks. She also will continue to serve on the investment committee and be involved in some firm activities. Page said she planned to devote some of her time to focus on “women in the investment industry.”
Page and Hicks have shared the chief executive and chief investment officer positions since 2008. A third founder, Greg McMillan, 55, left the firm several years ago.
“This is a deliberate and planned transition,” Page said. “George and I have worked together since Cargill Financial.”
Värde has a core business built around investing in the distressed debt of troubled companies that the firm bets could turn around or otherwise sell its obligations at a profit.
Värde has grown to $10 billion in assets and 220 employees, bigger than most Minnesota banks, and operates offices in Minneapolis, London, Milan, Madrid, Luxembourg, Dublin, Barcelona and Singapore.
Värde also is opening offices in New York City, Tokyo and Sydney.
In an interview this week, Hicks said about 125 local employees will move to the top two floors of downtown’s AT&T tower.
Hicks said the move was driven less by being close to the downtown financial hub and more by younger employees who want to work downtown. The rent isn’t much more for its downtown space than it was paying in Bloomington, he said.
Värde, which is the Swedish word for value, is a private “alternative-asset” company that doesn’t report its results publicly. It invests in mostly long-term oriented and sometimes complex situations for pension funds, insurance companies, other institutional investors and affluent families. Värde also operates a short-term-oriented hedge fund. It has grown organically and through a few acquisitions and is one of the largest private-investment firms in Minnesota.