Meet Sir Chris Hohn, Rishi’s former boss who has record-breaking £343 million pay day

Chris Hohn, who founded TCI in 2003, is worth an estimated $5.9bn

PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Fat Cat Friday occurs on the last working day of the first week of the year when the highest rollers will have leapfrogged your average Joe’s annual salary by working a matter of days. Fat Cat Friday (FCF) is completely redundant with Sir Chris Hohn such is the size of his pay packet, at a record £343 million. FCF would be applicable minutes into the inaugural working day of the year (rather than days in). The low-key billionaire hedge fund manager – and former boss of Chancellor Rishi Sunak – has scored a bumper year for his The Children’s Investment hedge fund (TCI).

Such a pay packet, that equates to £940,000 a day, is believed to be the highest annual amount ever paid to an individual in Britain and topples that earned by Denise Coates (£323 million), the boss of Bet365, in 2018. (The payment that skyrocketed her ahead of celebrities such as Taylor Swift and cemented her position as the world’s best-paid woman).

According to a Companies House filing, the prominent investor and fund-manager, collected the pay in dividends from TCI, the hedge fund he established in 2003, after a 66 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £499 million. The dividends, which the Times compares to about ‘2,144 times the Prime Minister’s basic salary’, were paid to his personal company, TCI Fund Management (where Sunak was employed as a junior analyst between 2006 and 2009). TCI has significant holdings in some of the world’s biggest companies, including Microsoft, Alphabet and Visa.

Sir Chris Hohn is Rishi Sunak’s former boss

Guy Bell / Alamy Stock Photo

The 54-year-old father of four (including triplets) is the son of a white Jamaican car mechanic who came to Britain in the 1960s. He graduated from Southampton University in 1988 with a first-class degree in accounting and business economics, after which he went to Harvard Business School where he studied the Master of Business Administration and became a celebrated Baker Scholar (an award given to the best five per cent of graduates). Hohn worked for private equity group Apax Partners before moving to Perry Capital, a hedge fund on Wall Street, where he was made head of the London operation in 1998, all before starting TCI fund.

Not just rich (and highly private), Hohn was knighted in 2014 for his philanthropy. He donated £200,000 to the environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion in 2019 saying there was ‘urgent need’ for people to tackle the crisis. He is also one of Britain’s biggest taxpayers, handing an estimated £58 million to the Exchequer last year according to the Sunday Times Tax List. In April 2020 he reportedly made a £2.4 million donation to purchase around 100 machines to test for Covid-19.

The Children’s Investment Fund was co-founded by Jamie Cooper, his American former wife and a fellow Harvard graduate, who he reportedly met at a party during his studies across the pond. In 2014 she was awarded £337 million in one of the biggest divorce awards made in the English court. In his divorce proceedings, he reportedly – very accurately – said that he was ‘an unbelievable money-maker’, but added: ‘I don’t really care about money.’ According to the [i]Sunday Times/i] Rich List[ his fortune is estimated at £1.2 billion.

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