Bill Ackman hires first woman for Pershing Square as hedge fund reports record 2020 returns

Bill Ackman: ‘Hell is coming’ comment came after $2.6B windfall

Pershing Square Capital Management CEO Bill Ackman clarifies his optimism for economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic and discusses Tesla reportedly paying half of showroom rent for the last four months.

BOSTON – Activist hedge fund manager William Ackman, whose bets on companies are closely watched, updated investors on how his flagship fund earned a record 70.2% return in 2020 on Thursday in a socially distanced way by sending out a 57-page presentation.

Normally this would be one of the rare occasions where investors could pepper the billionaire investor and his partners in person with questions about markets and individual companies over dinner in New York.

Several months after announcing plans to hire a woman to his all-male investment team, Ackman said Manning Feng will join Pershing Square later this year

 Ackman has plenty to celebrate after his Pershing Square Capital Management put up a second straight year of record returns in 2020. In 2019 the fund returned 58.1%. And 2021 is off to a strong start with an 8.1% return.

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Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Ackman and his team continue to work remotely, something they started over a year ago, and there will be no public champagne cork popping or dinner tonight.

It was only in 2018, over dinner, that Ackman told investors that he would stop jetting around the world to meet with investors throughout the year. He was going to focus more on researching new ideas instead of acting as his firm's chief marketer. For investors, the shift has paid off, and Ackman called 2020 and "outstanding year" in the presentation.

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He did not give any clues on how his blank check company Pershing Square Tontine Holdings is faring in finding a target.

Several months after announcing plans to hire a woman to his all-male investment team, Ackman said Manning Feng will join Pershing Square later this year. She previously worked as a private equity associate at Warburg Pincus and as an analyst at Centerview Partners.

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