San Francisco Find dirty laundry on enemies. Arrange huge loans. Hire bodyguards. sell houses. Running a multibillion-dollar neurotechnology company, at least on paper. It’s all part of Jared Birchall’s job. As Elon Musk’s right hand man, he has been watching over the wealth – and the moods – of the richest person in the world for six years.
Part of that work is staying largely in the background. Birchall doesn’t seem to be bad at that. Former classmates say they don’t remember it. So did Merrill Lynch’s former colleagues, where he was fired for misconduct. In the tight-knit family office community for the super rich, you only know your name, if at all.
The 47-year-old is one of the most important people in Musk’s circle, heading the Tesla CEO’s family office called Excession, the foundation he is building and many of Musk’s personal businesses. People who know him describe Birchall as mild. Someone who cares when the unpredictable billionaire sets foot on it.
This has become increasingly difficult as Musk’s fortune has grown from a few billion dollars to hundreds of billions of dollars. Most recently, Birchall helped out with the complex funding package Musk plans to use to buy Twitter. The $ 44 billion acquisition has drawn attention to the man.
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He was part of the small circle that interacted with Wall Street banks to secure vital loans for the deal, according to one familiar with the negotiations. Although he has no experience with acquisitions of this magnitude, Birchall has helped banks obtain finance, according to the person, who describes it as simple and easy to manage.
Elon Musk often makes decisions abruptly
On Thursday, Musk announced a group of investors willing to invest more than $ 7 billion in shares to acquire Twitter, including Oracle founder Larry Ellison, a Saudi prince and cryptocurrency exchange Binance. One of the contacts who helped close the video chat deal was Birchall, another person familiar with the process. Birchall also takes on the role of Musk’s ambassador, conveying Musk’s views on free speech and censorship to politicians.
And of course there are subtleties in Musk’s life that he manages, and it’s complicated. Musk often flies around on a private jet and makes big and important decisions rather abruptly, like selling all of his homes recently.
His already large family is growing, as is his fame. Someone has to take care of the little things: organizing the jets, selling houses, contacting bankers, hiring nannies and security guards. For Musk, this is Birchall. He did not respond to messages and calls requesting comment for this article.
>> Read also: The richest person in the world buys Twitter to realize his radical ideas
After college, Birchall first worked at Goldman Sachs, but quickly moved to Merrill Lynch in Los Angeles, where he looked after wealthy private clients. He was fired there for sending correspondence to a client without his superiors’ approval, according to regulators.
In 2010, Birchall moved to Morgan Stanley. One insider described him as someone who, while not a superstar there, was good at managing the fortunes of the rich.
Mormon father meets eccentric billionaire
And then Musk called. Birchall left Morgan Stanley in 2016 to help Tesla boss build Excession. When running a family office, many things have to match in terms of atmosphere and culture. With Excession, this is far from obvious.
Birchall is a low-key Mormon family man, while Musk is an online provocateur of three divorcees who smokes joint in public and recently had two more children with musician Grimes. The boy and girl are named X and Y.
Like everything in Musk, the family office is atypical. Most of the money is in Musk’s companies: Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, and Neuralink. Aside from that, he says he has invested in a handful of cryptocurrencies. The bulk of the fortune, currently nearly $ 250 billion, is his 16% stake in Tesla.
Birchall himself shouldn’t starve himself. The typical head of a large family office earns $ 1 million to $ 3 million annually. Depending on the area of responsibility, this can also be much more.
However, Excession is only run by two people, Musk said in 2019, which is unusual for such a large fortune. Some well-known family offices employ more than a hundred people, says Tayyab Mohamed, co-founder of family office recruiting firm Agreus Group: people for daily tasks like hiring security guards, nannies and travel arrangements, a management team and a committee of investment.
Another wealth manager, Catalyst Family Office, may also be linked to Musk. He says it offers investment, tax advice, philanthropy and wealth planning, as well as “concierge and lifestyle management.” Ronald Gong, a managing partner of Catalyst, is listed on the tax forms for Musk’s founding in 2013, as well as representing other companies associated with Musk.
Catalyst is based in Silicon Valley but also opened an office in Austin when Musk moved from California to Texas. Birchall also moved to Texas with his family and in 2020 bought a $ 2.25 million home in Austin with a pool and tennis court.
Birchall maintains relationships with major banks
Excession has also moved to Texas, as have the Musk Foundation, its Ad Astra school, and several of its other companies, all of which Birchall serves in roles as director, manager or chief financial officer, including at Neuralink, Musk’s brain. implant company.
Birchall doesn’t necessarily have real authority over these companies. For example, his name was only put in the Neuralink newspapers for legal reasons, according to a person familiar with the matter. Birchall is rarely at Neuralink and is not involved in day-to-day operations, said the person, who asked not to be named.
Instead, it maintains relationships with large banks, such as Morgan Stanley, which Musk regularly uses for mega loans. These have been instrumental in growing Musk’s fortunes. He borrowed to fund new ventures instead of selling Tesla stock. This also saved him from taxes.
A word that often comes up when describing Birchall is “beautiful”. Four people who independently provided information for this story called it that. But even with those who have had to deal with him, he does not leave a particularly lasting impression, as he says little.
The jobs Birchall does for Musk sometimes seem anything but pleasant. In 2018, for example, Birchall was supposed to try to discredit a man who accused Musk of defamation. Birchall hired an alleged private investigator under a pseudonym; Musk eventually won the case.
Such positions are not uncommon for family office heads, says Mohamed of the Agreus Group. People who come from the world of Wall Street but can also do this kind of thing are rare.
More recently, Birchall contacted nonprofits on behalf of the Musk foundation. He has delegated some responsibilities to Igor Kurganov, a professional poker player turned philanthropist who now serves as a liaison for Musk Foundation beneficiaries. Mohamed said Birchall and Musk had to adapt because he worked for the billionaire for so long.
“If the personal chemistry and culture of the company you work for aren’t right, you won’t last long,” said Mohamed. “I’m absolutely certain that beyond his abilities – and I’m pretty sure he’s good at what he does – Jared is perfect for Elon Musk and the chemistry between the two is fantastic.”
Moreover: Elon Musk is raising billions from friends and investors for the Twitter acquisition