25 Most Intriguing Chicagoans: Ken Griffin

David Zivan | September 10, 2019 | People

Ken Griffin is amongthe wealthiest men in the nation—but he gives most generously at home.



If you’ve been extraordinarily successful in business, there are many ways to see one’s name in print. And Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of the Citadel global investment firm, has experienced most of the variations—on court filings, on lists of the nation’s wealthiest individuals, on gala invitations. But more and more in recent years, Chicago has seen his name in places for which we all should be grateful—namely, listed in the programs of significant cultural events and on the walls of museums. The new wing of the Art Institute? He’s got $19 million in that. The refreshed lakefront paths from a few years ago? $12 million there, for the 18-mile path. When Sue, the Field Museum’s T. rex, needed to be moved and the grand entry hall refurbished, Griffin stepped up. And this past summer, near the entrance of the Virgil Abloh show at the MCA (see No. 1), there he was, as a presenting sponsor of the show, which has drawn many thousands to the museum (many of whom would likely not have stepped foot in the place if not for that show). This is but a short list. Griffin travels a lot and is known to be private, but the question is not so much where is he today, but where would we be without him?

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Photography by: MARIA PONCE/MCA