san francisco Find dirty laundry on enemies. Arrange huge loans. Hire bodyguards. sell houses. Running a multi-billion dollar neurotech company – at least on paper. It’s all part of Jared Birchall’s job. As Elon Musk’s right-hand man, he’s watched over the wealth – and the moods – of the world’s richest person for six years.
Part of such a job is to stay largely in the background. Birchall doesn’t seem bad for it. Former classmates say they don’t remember him. So did former colleagues at Merrill Lynch, where he was fired for misconduct. In the tight-knit community of family offices 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, running the Tesla CEO’s family office called Excession, the foundation he’s building, and many of Musk’s personal businesses. People who know him describe Birchall as gentle. Someone who watches when the unpredictable billionaire steps into it again.
This has become increasingly difficult as Musk’s fortune has grown from a few billion dollars to hundreds of billions of dollars. More recently, Birchall helped with the complex financial package Musk plans to use to buy Twitter. The $44 billion acquisition drew attention to the man.
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He was part of the small circle that interacted with Wall Street banks to guarantee loans essential to the deal, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. Although he has no experience with takeovers of this magnitude, Birchall has helped banks secure financing, 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 equity to acquire Twitter, including Oracle founder Larry Ellison, a Saudi prince and crypto exchange Binance. One of the contacts who helped close the deal in the video chats was Birchall, another person familiar with the proceedings. Birchall also takes on the role of Musk’s ambassador, for example conveying Musk’s views on free speech and censorship to politicians.
And of course there are the intricacies in Musk’s life that he handles, and that’s complicated. Musk frequently flies in a private jet and makes big, momentous decisions quite abruptly, like selling all of his homes recently.
His already large family grew, as did his notoriety. Someone has to take care of the little things – arranging the jet, selling the houses, contacting the bankers, hiring nannies and security guards. For Musk, it’s Birchall. He did not respond to messages and calls seeking 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 soon moved to Merrill Lynch in Los Angeles, where he handled wealthy private clients. He was fired there for sending correspondence to a client without the approval of his superiors, according to regulators.
In 2010, Birchall moved to Morgan Stanley. An insider described him as someone who, although not a superstar there, was good at managing the fortunes of the wealthy.
A Mormon family man meets an eccentric billionaire
And then Musk called. Birchall left Morgan Stanley in 2016 to help the Tesla boss build Excession. When running a family office, a lot of things have to fit together in terms of atmosphere and culture. With Excession, it’s far from obvious.
Birchall is a low-key Mormon family man, while Musk is a three-divorce online provocateur who smokes joints in public and recently had two more children with musician Grimes. The boy and the girl are called X and Y.
Like everything at Musk, the family office is atypical. Most of the money is in Musk’s own companies: Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company and Neuralink. Other than that, he says he has invested in a handful of cryptocurrencies. Most of the fortune, currently nearly $250 billion, is his 16% stake in Tesla.
Birchall himself shouldn’t starve either. The typical head of a large family office earns around $1-3 million per year. Depending on the area of responsibility, this can also be much higher.
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 recruitment firm Agreus Group: people for day-to-day tasks such as hiring security guards, nannies and the organization of trips, a management team and an investment committee.
Another wealth manager, Catalyst Family Office, could also be linked to Musk. She says she offers investment services, tax advice, philanthropy and estate planning, as well as “concierge and lifestyle management.” Ronald Gong, managing partner of Catalyst, is listed on the Musk Foundation’s tax forms in 2013, and represents 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 house in Austin complete with a swimming pool and tennis court.
Birchall has relationships with major banks
Excession has also moved to Texas, as has the Musk Foundation, his Ad Astra school, and many of his other companies, of which Birchall is a part in director, manager, or CFO roles, even at Neuralink, Musk’s mastermind. implantology company.
Birchall does not necessarily have real authority over these companies. For example, his name was only put in the Neuralink papers 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, he has relationships with big banks, such as Morgan Stanley, which Musk regularly uses for mega loans. These were instrumental in the growth of Musk’s fortune. He borrowed to fund new ventures instead of selling Tesla stock. It also saved him taxes.
A word that often comes up to describe Birchall is “nice”. Four people who provided information for this story have independently named it as such. But even with those who have dealt 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 said to be trying to discredit a man who accused Musk of defamation. Birchall hired a supposed private detective under a pseudonym; Musk ultimately won the case.
Such assignments are not uncommon for heads of family offices, explains Mohamed of the Agreus Group. People who come from the world of Wall Street but who can also do this kind of thing are rare.
More recently, Birchall reached out to nonprofits on behalf of the Musk Foundation. He delegated some responsibilities to Igor Kurganov, a professional poker player turned philanthropist who now acts as liaison for Musk Foundation grantees. Mohamed said Birchall and Musk had to adapt because he had worked for the billionaire for so long.
“If the personal chemistry and the culture of the company you work for aren’t good, you don’t last long,” Mohamed said. “I’m absolutely certain that beyond his abilities – and I’m pretty sure he’s great at what he does – Jared is a perfect fit for Elon Musk and the chemistry between the two is great.”
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