Person

Christopher Hohn

Nationality:

United Kingdom

Occupation:

Hedge Fund Manager, Billionaire Philanthropist

Christopher Hohn is an English hedge fund manager and billionaire philanthropist with a personal fortune of £1.2 billion (approximately $1.56 billion) as of 2019[1] and a net worth of $5 billion as of 2020. [2]

Hohn is known for personally contributing £50,000 (approximately $65,000) to the radical environmental activist organization, Extinction Rebellion (XR),[3] and using his co-founded charity the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation to contribute an additional £150,000 (approximately $200,000) to the group. [4]

Hohn is invested in major industrial companies that use conventional energy sources condemned by XR, personally and through TCI. They include European aircraft manufacturer Airbus,[5] the Canadian National Railway Company, Canadian Pacific Railway, the Union Pacific Railroad, American defense contractor Raytheon, and the chemicals company Univar Solutions. [6]

Background

Christopher Hohn is an English hedge fund manager and billionaire philanthropist, born in 1966 to a Jamaican-born car mechanic. Hohn studied at Southampton University before moving to America to study for an MBA at Harvard Business School, where he received the award of Baker Scholar. While studying at Harvard Business School, Hohn met his ex-wife Jaimee Cooper-Hohn (now known as Jaimee Cooper). [7]

After leaving Harvard Business School, Hohn began working on Wall Street for the hedge fund Perry Capital, where he stayed for seven years and earned an estimated £75 million (approximately $97.5 million). [8]

After leaving Perry Capital and moving back to the United Kingdom in 2003, Hohn set up his own hedge fund, The Children’s Investment Fund Management (TCI), in 2004 with Cooper. TCI was created to funnel 1% of its assets to the fund’s charitable arm, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. [9]

Hohn was ordered to pay £337 million (approximately $440 million) to Cooper in 2014 after the pair divorced. Hohn and Cooper have an ongoing court case as to whether the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the charitable arm of the hedge fund, should be forced to pay £270 million (approximately $350 million) to Big Win Philanthropy, a charity Cooper founded after the divorce. [10]

Hohn has been listed as one of the top ten earning hedge fund managers in the world and was ranked as one of the 125 richest people in the United Kingdom as of 2019 with a personal fortune of £1.2 billion (approximately $1.56 billion),[11] but other sources list him as having a total net worth of $5 billion. [12] He collected a reported $261 million in dividend payments from TCI in 2018, $274 million in 2017, and $364 million in 2016. [13]

He has been said to use “hardball tactics” with TCI by “scuttling deals, pushing to remove bosses, and battering companies with litigation and threats.” [14]

Hohn was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 2014 for his “services to UK philanthropy and international development.” [15]

Political Activities

Hohn has moved towards a more environmentalist and environmental-social-governance (ESG)-related approach to investing in recent years.

After President Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, a policy first outlined in the Reagan administration that requires foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to assure they will not “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning” if they are to receive family planning aid from the United States, Hohn pledged $10 million towards the “She Decides” movement, a pro-abortion-rights global fundraising initiative created by the Dutch Government. [16]

Hohn is also known for personally contributing £50,000 (approximately $65,000) to the radical environmental activist organization, Extinction Rebellion (XR). [17] Extinction Rebellion was created in the United Kingdom in mid-2019 from a network of individuals affiliated with Earth First! and Occupy Wall Street,[18] and uses tactics such as the mass occupation of major streets and landmarks,[19] property defacement and destruction,[20] and causing public disturbances outside the offices of major media organizations. [21] Hohn’s co-founded charity, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, also contributed £150,000 (approximately $200,000) to Extinction Rebellion. [22]

Hohn also sent a letter to multiple large companies which TCI invests in, including Google and Airbus, stating that TCI would “typically vote against all directors of companies which do not publicly disclose all of their emissions and do not have a credible plan for their reduction,” and warned that TCI will consider selling shares of companies that do not disclose climate risks. Hohn also added that if governments did not force companies to disclose its pollution “investors can force it themselves.” [23]

Hohn claimed that BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager, was “full of greenwash” as it prides itself in its environmental credentials but didn’t force companies it invests in to disclose their emissions. Hohn added that “asset owners should fire asset managers that do not require such disclosure.” [24]

Hohn, through TCI, sent letters to top executives of the companies he invests in, pressuring them to enact full “decarbonization of economies (net-zero emissions) by 2050.” The companies include Alphabet Inc, Anthem Inc, and Microsoft. [25]

Funding Campaign to Sue American Energy Companies

According to a RealClearInvestigations article written on January 6, 2020, Hohn has spent at least $16 million in pushing municipalities into introducing litigation against energy companies due to climate change costs since 2017. [26] Through his Children Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), Hohn contributed $7 million of that total to the climate activist group Center for Climate Integrity (CCI). CCI is a project of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD), an environmental policy group headed by climate activist Richard Wiles, who is in favor of taking legal action against fossil fuel and traditional energy organizations. [27]

Controversial Investing

Despite his contributions to Extinction Rebellion, the standards he holds towards companies he invests in, and his own personal views on the environment, Hohn has a history of hypocritical investing in companies that harm the environment.

Hohn is one of the three largest investors of Aena, the majority owner of Luton airport outside London, and has built up a 4% stake in the parent company of London’s Heathrow Airport, Ferrovial. The stake in Ferrovial is worth £630 million (approximately $815 million). TCI is also the second-largest investor to Getlink, the owner of the Eurotunnel. [28]

Reports from 2020 identified TCI as having held a major position in the airplane manufacturer Airbus,[29] owned a holding in the Canadian National Railway Company, been the largest single investor in Canadian Pacific Railway, held a large stake in the United States railway company Union Pacific (worth approximately $650 million), possessed an investment in the American missile maker Raytheon, and invested in the chemicals company Univar Solutions. [30]

References

  1. Mailonline, Ed Riley For. “Billionaire Fights £270m Supreme Court Battle with Ex-Wife Who Already Won £337m from Him.” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, January 14, 2020. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7885829/Billionaire-fights-270m-Supreme-Court-battle-ex-wife-won-337m-him.html. ^
  2. “Sir Christopher Hohn.” Forbes. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/profile/christopher-hohn/. ^
  3. Gilbert, Mark. “The Hedge Fund Industry Gets Its Own Greta Thunberg.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-12-02/christopher-hohn-goes-extinction-rebellion-on-hedge-fund-industry. ^
  4. Middleton, Lucy. “Investor Worth £1,200,000,000 Who Is Financially Helping Extinction Rebellion.” Metro. Metro.co.uk, November 15, 2019. https://metro.co.uk/2019/10/11/investor-worth-1200000000-financially-helping-extinction-rebellion-10899604/. ^
  5. “Not American, but He’s Got a Rich Footprint in U.S. Environmental Politics.” RealClearInvestigations. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2020/01/06/a_british_billionaires_big_investments_in_us_environmental_politics_121359.html. ^
  6. “Climate Rebel Tycoon Nets Tainted Millions: How Extinction Rebellion’s British Hedge Fund Backer Profits from ‘Dirty’ Firms.” MSN. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/other/climate-rebel-tycoon-nets-tainted-millions-how-extinction-rebellions-british-hedge-fund-backer-profits-from-dirty-firms/ar-BBZkuOl?ocid=se. ^
  7. Bloxham, Andy. “Chris Hohn Profile: Britain’s Biggest Charity Donor.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, June 20, 2008. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2166369/Chris-Hohn-profile-Britains-biggest-charity-donor.html. ^
  8. Bloxham, Andy. “Chris Hohn Profile: Britain’s Biggest Charity Donor.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, June 20, 2008. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2166369/Chris-Hohn-profile-Britains-biggest-charity-donor.html. ^
  9. Reporter, Daily Mail. “City High-Flier Is UK’s Most Generous Donor.” This is Money. This Is Money, June 29, 2006. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-1599999/City-high-flier-is-UKs-most-generous-donor.html. ^
  10. Mailonline, Ed Riley For. “Billionaire Fights £270m Supreme Court Battle with Ex-Wife Who Already Won £337m from Him.” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, January 14, 2020. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7885829/Billionaire-fights-270m-Supreme-Court-battle-ex-wife-won-337m-him.html. ^
  11. Mailonline, Ed Riley For. “Billionaire Fights £270m Supreme Court Battle with Ex-Wife Who Already Won £337m from Him.” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, January 14, 2020. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7885829/Billionaire-fights-270m-Supreme-Court-battle-ex-wife-won-337m-him.html. ^
  12. “Sir Christopher Hohn.” Forbes. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/profile/christopher-hohn/. ^
  13. Neate, Rupert. “Hedge Fund Boss Pays Himself £200m despite Fund’s Profits Falling.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, December 4, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/dec/04/hedge-fund-boss-pays-himself-200m-despite-funds-profits-falling. ^
  14. Robinson, Edward, and Nishant Kumar. “The World’s Most-Profitable Hedge Fund Is Now a Climate Radical.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, January 22, 2020. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-22/the-world-s-most-profitable-hedge-fund-is-now-a-climate-radical. ^
  15. “Page b4: Supplement 60895, 14 June 2014: London Gazette: The Gazette.” Page b4 | Supplement 60895, 14 June 2014 | London Gazette. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/60895/supplement/b4. ^
  16. Gray, Alex. “These Countries Are Pledging to Fill the Funding Gap Left by America’s Controversial ‘Global Gag Rule’.” World Economic Forum. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/03/global-gag-rule-abortion-family-planning/. ^
  17. Gilbert, Mark. “The Hedge Fund Industry Gets Its Own Greta Thunberg.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-12-02/christopher-hohn-goes-extinction-rebellion-on-hedge-fund-industry. ^
  18. “Extinction Rebellion: The Story behind the Activist Group.” BBC News. BBC, December 21, 2018. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-46626582/extinction-rebellion-the-story-behind-the-activist-group. ^
  19. Taylor, Matthew, and Damien Gayle. “Dozens Arrested after Climate Protest Blocks Five London Bridges.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, November 17, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/17/thousands-gather-to-block-london-bridges-in-climate-rebellion. ^
  20. Taylor, Matthew, and Damien Gayle. “Dozens Arrested after Climate Protest Blocks Five London Bridges.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, November 17, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/17/thousands-gather-to-block-london-bridges-in-climate-rebellion. ^
  21. Andone, Dakin. “NYPD Arrests 66 People at a Climate Protest Outside The New York Times Offices.” CNN. Cable News Network, June 24, 2019. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/22/us/extinction-rebellion-new-york-times-arrests/index.html. ^
  22. Middleton, Lucy. “Investor Worth £1,200,000,000 Who Is Financially Helping Extinction Rebellion.” Metro. Metro.co.uk, November 15, 2019. https://metro.co.uk/2019/10/11/investor-worth-1200000000-financially-helping-extinction-rebellion-10899604/. ^
  23. Ben Chapman @b_c_chapman. “Hedge Fund Billionaire Vows to Punish Company Directors for Climate Change Inaction.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, December 3, 2019. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/chris-hohn-hedge-fund-climate-change-crisis-punish-company-directors-a9229946.html. ^
  24. Ben Chapman @b_c_chapman. “Hedge Fund Billionaire Vows to Punish Company Directors for Climate Change Inaction.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, December 3, 2019. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/chris-hohn-hedge-fund-climate-change-crisis-punish-company-directors-a9229946.html. ^
  25. “Not American, but He’s Got a Rich Footprint in U.S. Environmental Politics.” RealClearInvestigations. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2020/01/06/a_british_billionaires_big_investments_in_us_environmental_politics_121359.html. ^
  26. Walrath, Spencer. “Revealed: Foreign Billionaire Behind the Group Pushing American Cities to Sue Energy Producers.” Energy In Depth, January 8, 2020. https://eidclimate.org/revealed-foreign-billionaire-behind-the-group-pushing-american-cities-to-sue-energy-producers/. ^
  27. Walrath, Spencer. “Revealed: Foreign Billionaire Behind the Group Pushing American Cities to Sue Energy Producers.” Energy In Depth, January 8, 2020. https://eidclimate.org/revealed-foreign-billionaire-behind-the-group-pushing-american-cities-to-sue-energy-producers/ ^
  28. Boscia, Stefan, and Stefan BosciaShare. “Sir Christopher Hohn Buys Stake in Heathrow Airport.” CityAM, October 20, 2019. https://www.cityam.com/extinction-rebellion-patron-buys-stake-in-heathrow-airport/./note]

    The Children’s Investment Fund Management acquired a 1% stake of Coal India, the Indian coal mining and refining company which produces around 80% of coal for the country. The stake was acquired in 2012, but later that year TCI attempted to sue the company and the Indian government later that year claiming that pricing had cost TCI approximately $19 billion. Despite this, TCI held stakes in the company until 2014. [note]“Not American, but He’s Got a Rich Footprint in U.S. Environmental Politics.” RealClearInvestigations. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2020/01/06/a_british_billionaires_big_investments_in_us_environmental_politics_121359.html. ^

  29. “Not American, but He’s Got a Rich Footprint in U.S. Environmental Politics.” RealClearInvestigations. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2020/01/06/a_british_billionaires_big_investments_in_us_environmental_politics_121359.html. ^
  30. “Climate Rebel Tycoon Nets Tainted Millions: How Extinction Rebellion’s British Hedge Fund Backer Profits from ‘Dirty’ Firms.” MSN. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/other/climate-rebel-tycoon-nets-tainted-millions-how-extinction-rebellions-british-hedge-fund-backer-profits-from-dirty-firms/ar-BBZkuOl?ocid=se. ^
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