Outspoken 'Bond King' Bill Gross Leaves PIMCO, the Firm He Started

Bill Gross, founder of PIMCO, did what he does best: shock people.

BySUSANNA KIM
September 26, 2014, 2:43 PM
PHOTO: Bill Gross gestures as he speaks at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago, Illinois, June 19, 2014, when he was co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO).
Bill Gross gestures as he speaks at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago, Illinois, June 19, 2014, when he was co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO).
Jim Young / Reuters

— -- Bill Gross is about as eccentric as eccentric billionaires get. Worth an estimated $2.3 billion, he's always done things his way, which is why his departure from the firm he started has shocked investors.

PIMCO (Pacific Investment Management Company) announced today that the 70-year-old has resigned "effective immediately." Gross is leaving for Janus Capital Group, where he will start work Monday out of an office in Newport Beach, California.

PIMCO's Bill Gross to Join Janus Capital

"Today, with a mixture of excitement and sadness, I am announcing that I have decided to join Janus Capital Group and end my association with PIMCO," Gross said in a statement. It was not without great thought and deliberation over quite some time that I decided to begin this next chapter."

Here's a sample of his known eccentricities.

1. Eye-Contact

"On the trading floor, Mr. Gross doesn't like employees speaking with him or making eye contact, especially in the morning, current and former employees say. He prefers silence and at times reprimands those who break it, even if they're discussing investments, these people say," the Wall Street Journal reported in February.

Gross told CNBC that characterization was "unfair." After all, he allowed employees to play rock music at 8 a.m. and he was behind "a conga line to let employees know it's okay to scream and shout and let it all out."

PHOTO: Bill Gross, co-founder and former co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), said in a statement, Sept. 26, 2014, that he wants to "focus on the pure aspects of portfolio management" at a smaller firm.
Bill Gross, co-founder and former co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), said in a statement, Sept. 26, 2014, that he wants to "focus on the pure aspects of portfolio management" at a smaller firm.
Jim Young / Reuters

2. The Cat Whisperer

In Gross' newsletter in April, he mentioned his late cat.

In the three paragraphs about Bob, Gross wrote, "I often asked her about her recommendations for pet food stocks, and she frequently responded –- one meow for 'no,' two meows for a 'you bet.' She was less certain about interest rates, but then it never hurt to ask."

3. Erotic Nature of Sneezing

"There’s nothing like a good sneeze; maybe a hot shower or an ice cream sandwich, but no –- nothing else even comes close. A sneeze is, to be candid, sort of half erotic, a release of pressure that feels oh so good either before or just after the Achoo!" he wrote in a newsletter.

PHOTO: Bill Gross, co-founder of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), is worth an estimated $2.3 billion, according to Forbes.
Bill Gross, co-founder of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), is worth an estimated $2.3 billion, according to Forbes. 
Jim Young / Reuters

4. Not Holding Back

During one investment committee meeting, Gross took issue with a French-born vice president.

"I never understand what you're saying. Ever," Gross said, according to the Wall Street Journal. The next day, that vice president resigned.

5. Gross = The Secretariat

In late 2013, Gross reportedly said in front of several traders, "if only [former CEO Mohamed El-Erian] would let me, I could run all the $2 trillion myself. ... I'm Secretariat," referring to the champion thoroughbred horse. "Why would you bet on anyone other than Secretariat?" Gross said, according to the Journal.

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