01 April 2011

Jolly Country Gent: Crispin Odey

The hedge fund boss who has had a
sausage named after him -
the 'Odey sausage'
"When I arrive for lunch with Crispin Odey at Corrigans--the super-smart Mayfair restaurant of star chef Richard Corrigan--I'm treated like royalty. Odey is running slightly late and I'm shown to a prime table. The staff bustle around, checking I'm okay - nothing is too much for them. Finally, he arrives, and they go into overdrive.

A bottle of normally exquisite - and expensive - white Burgundy is produced, which he decides is not quite right. The sommelier scurries away to fetch another one. He glances at the menu and knows what he wants: a duck egg to start, followed by, if I agree, a shared steak and kidney pie. 'And what about some beef on the side, let's have the loin of beef on the side. Lovely. Oh, and we'd better have some mash and some kale - we ought to have something green.'

He calls over the wine waiter again: 'And we'd like a bottle of the Leoville.'

The claret is superb, as is the food. But this is mid-week. A bottle of white and a bottle of red. Beef on the side. Nobody has lunch like this in London, not any more, not in oh-so politically correct, watching-the-calories 2011. Not on this scale and even more rarely at this cost. What's more, with hedge fund magnate Odey, there is the feeling this is nothing special. The office of his firm, Odey Asset Management, is across the road and Corrigans might as well be his canteen.

Recession or no, he lives like this all the time. Full on, doing exactly what he wants to and perish the petty-minded dullards who get in his way.

The phrase larger-than-life could have been invented for Odey. He's well over six foot, broad and has the charm, flamboyance and confidence of someone who is extremely comfortable in his own skin, and is also blessed with a fearsome intellect. His speech is rapid, and ideas, thoughts, opinions pour out of him.

He may look like a jolly country gent down in town for a few days (his passions include fishing and shooting), but he is a financial operator of great aplomb, a man who has the markets constantly in his thrall and is famous for taking daring, often counter-intuitive positions. And he has paid himself at least £85m in the past five years, including over £30m last year.

There again, he is also a hedge fund boss who has had a sausage named after him - the 'Odey sausage'. Made with pork from a neighbour in Ross-on-Wye (where he has a country home), the sausages are sold at the Union Market, the new organic grocer in London. He's in on the deal at both ends, of course - he's an investor in Union Market, and the firm is run by his old friend former corporate financier Tony Bromovsky.

Together with his wife, Nichola Pease, a member of one of the Barclays founding families and deputy chairman of private wealth group JO Hambro (her sister's husband is ex-Barclays chief executive John Varley and her brother Richard Pease is a star fund manager), Odey is part of a formidable and impeccably well-connected unit.

They've been described as the 'Posh and Becks' of the City but in truth they could not be more unlike the celebrity duo. They're part of the old money City establishment, highly educated, conservative in taste, quiet, serious and never courting publicity. They're extremely wealthy - the Sunday Times Rich List estimates their worth at £300m.

But in that, too, Odey, 52, is quite different from his hedge fund rivals. He's absolutely not brash - the Odeys and their three children live in London, in a gorgeous but understated, art and book-filled house in the oldest part of Chelsea, near the river."


The MT Interview: Crispin Odey, by Chris Blackhurst, Management Today, 1 April 2011


©  Haymarket Business Media 2011


de Remy said...

Interesting details: Have a look at his shoe laces

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

De Remy ~ I noticed that too. I think it could be some kind of gang sign.