Fortress co-founder calls it quits after 14 years

nascar
Michael Waltrip leads the pack at the start of the Daytona 500, NASCAR's biggest event.

Robert Kauffman, co-founder, principal and director at Fortress Investment Group, has retired.

Mr. Kauffman co-founded Fortress in 1998 and has had a number of leadership roles at the alternatives investment manager, including overseeing the firm's European private equity operations and most recently providing board-level oversight of fixed-income subsidiary Logan Circle Partners, according to a news release from the firm.

In an interview, Mr. Kauffman said a “confluence of events” led to his retirement. Logan Circle had turned around and was doing well, increasing its assets under management to $20 billion from $13 billion over the last year, and the “tax impact was pretty significant” with capital gains rates potentially increasing to 20% from 15% next year. Mr. Kauffman still has a “nine-figure investment” in Fortress funds.

Mr. Kauffman's retirement will not result in any changes of responsibilities or positions at Fortress, a spokesman said in a telephone interview.

Fortress will redeem or purchase all of Mr. Kauffman's 51.3 million Class A or equivalent shares at a price of $3.50 per share, according to the release. As a result, Fortress' dividend-paying share count will be reduced by about 10%.

Mr. Kauffman bought a 50% ownership stake in NASCAR team Michael Waltrip Racing and founded RK Motors Charlotte in 2006, a muscle-car restoration and performance company.

Fortress had about $50 billion in assets under management as of Sept. 30.