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Monday, January 8, 2018

Bill Gross' Image Guru Speaks

News summary by MFWire's editors

Maybe Pimco's [profile] lawyers were right when they accused Bill Gross of engaging in "reputational warfare."

That claim seems to be supported by a new book, The Fixer, written by public relations specialist Michael Sitrick and by Dennis Kneale. MFWire has not yet read the book, which was released today, yet the New York Post reports that Sitrick portrays Gross' 2015 lawsuit against Pimco as a way to fix Gross' reputation by getting his "complete story to the public" and "setting the record straight."

After outflows, a CEO departure, and some unfavorable press leaks, Pimco co-founder and star bond fund PM Gross left Pimco in September 2014, triggering outflows of $1 billion a day or more that were likened to a real-world stress test of the asset management industry. Gross joined Janus and quickly started telling his side of the infamously bad breakup, even revealing that Pimco fired him.

In October 2015, Gross sued Pimco for $200 million in damages, saying he was wrongfully dethroned by the "cabal" of managing directors running the firm. Pimco pushed back and belittled Gross' "sad obsession", while Gross accused the fund firm of "bad faith obstruction" in the deposition process. Yet in March 2017 the two sides buried the hatchet, with a reportedly $81-million settlement to Gross (which he promised to donate to charity) as well as the creation of an annual "Bill Gross Award" and a "Founders Room" at Pimco HQ. In his new book, Sitrick portrays Gross giving away the lawsuit's proceeds as another piece of the reputational repair job. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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