Tom Steyer to step down from Farallon Capital Management

Tom Steyer, a big-name Democratic fundraiser and the money behind Prop. 39, is often described as a “billionaire hedge fund manager.”

Not for much longer. Steyer, 55, is stepping down from Farallon Capital Management, the hedge fund that he founded, at the end of the year. Andrew Spokes, who joined Farallon in 1997 to run the London office and has been a co-managing partner, will become sole managing partner.

“Now it’s time to focus full-time on giving back” wrote Steyer in a letter to limited partners Monday. “I want my life to revolve around service in one form or another, including continued participation in our community bank, in encouraging the advanced energy economy and in specific public policy initiatives in California.”

Steyer is well-known in cleantech circles for leading the fight against Proposition 23, the measure that sought to suspend the state’s landmark global warming bill. The November 2010 ballot initiative was soundly defeated.

This election cycle, Steyer has bankrolled Proposition 39, an initiative that seeks to close tax loopholes for multi-state companies based outside of California. You can read the Legislative Analyst’s Office analysis of Prop. 39 here:

A New Yorker who received his MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in 1983, Steyer fell in love with California — and his wife, Kat Taylor — and never went back east. He founded the hedge fund Farallon Capital Management in 1986 and has managed it ever since. Farallon invests in both public and private debt, equities, private investments and real estate.

Steyer, along with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, is one of several billionaires who have pledged to give at least half of their wealth to charity.

Clean energy and public health have emerged as his top priorities. Steyer funds a variety of energy-related centers at Stanford. He’s also a co-founder of The Center for the Next Generation, a new non-profit based in San Francisco. TCNG works to “shape national dialogue” around two big issues: advancing a sustainable energy future and improving opportunities for children and families.



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