Dan Och's note to clients two days before Christmas, telling them that star trader Jimmy Levin wasn't going to get the top job at Och-Ziff Capital Management Group after all, shows how tough succession can be at hedge funds.
Mr. Och, who founded Och-Ziff more than two decades ago and is still its CEO, told clients he had changed his mind about Mr. Levin and would seek a successor from the outside, according to people familiar with the firm, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
Mr. Och, 56, said in the note that after conferring with the board, he decided it wasn't the right time for Mr. Levin, 34, to take over, according to the sources. He added he hoped Mr. Levin would remain co-chief investment officer. Mr. Och didn't give a reason for his change in thinking. He shocked Wall Street in February when he promoted Mr. Levin and awarded him an incentive package worth as much as $280 million.