Julian Robertson, CEO of Tiger Management, went on Bloomberg Surveillance today to talk shop.
So of course Apple came up — the stock was one of the legendary hedge funder’s largest holdings at one point.
He has since disavowed it.
He once called Apple the greatest company in the world.
“I read the book on Steve Jobs and I developed a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for his intellect. But I came to the conclusion that he really was a maverick person and he really could not establish a great long-term entity,” he told Bloomberg’s Tom Keene. “I don’t think the Steve Jobs was the type of guy that would have developed a great, long-term leadership.”
“I think the Google people have a better way of getting things done,” he said.
That’s a big 180.
Robertson also said he didn’t think the SEC’s case against SAC’s Steve Cohen would have a “big effect” on the industry at large. “I think hedge funds are generally extremely careful that they adhere to the straight line of the rules,” he said.
Here’s the full transcript courtesy of Bloomberg:
Robertson on whether the hedge fund industry will be forever changed in the wake of SAC:
“No, I don’t think so. I think hedge funds are generally extremely careful that they adhere to the straight line of the rules and I don’t expect that to happen, to have a big effect on it.”
On whether he sees the hedge fund industry as a group of top performers and everyone else or whether he bundles performance together:
“I don’t think you can bundle everyone together. But I do think one of the things that’s affected hedge fund performance over the last, well, really since it started really getting big around the ’80s, is the increase in size of hedge funds. It was so much easier to compete with Bank Trust departments, with individual investors, with mutual funds than it is with other hedge funds. And I think the success of hedge funds in general has probably hurt the performance of individual hedge funds…Because the competition is tougher.”
On why he’s not constructive on Apple anymore:
“I read the book on Steve Jobs and I developed a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for his intellect. But I came to the conclusion that he really was a maverick person and he really could not establish a great long-term entity. He was just a very mercurial, tough guy. And I just don’t believe he could have done that. And I think the Google people have a better way of getting things done…The leadership and Apple, I don’t think the Steve Jobs was the type of guy that would have developed a great, long-term leadership.”
On key attributes he looks for in “Tiger Cubs” like Nehal Chopra:
“Well that’s sort of secret to us…Nehal has not mentioned one of the aspects of her being which sort of got us very interested. And this was almost as important as her degree from Wharton. She was on the Indian National Tennis Group. And was you know, David Cup calibre, that type of thing. And she’s a vicious competitor. She is a winner. And I find that people who compete well in one thing compete well in other things.”
On the hedge fund industry’s overall performance:
“Hedge funds do better than the markets in bad markets because they are hedge funds. And the, the ideal for hedge fund is a vigorous active market that doesn’t move a whole lot. There they can make it in both the long and short basis….In ’07, hedge funds, I know ours, just blew it out….It was just unbelievable. And then in ’08, we lost, you know much of that.”
On how to get Americans re-engaged with the stock market:
“Well I don’t think it’s necessary for Americans to get re-engaged with the stock market. I actually think maybe there is too much emphasis on the stock market around everywhere. I would rather see so many of the great young people become scientists or engineers than get into the stock market. We’ve got too much talent in that business…Yeah, I’d rather they go to these other areas where we’re desperate for help.”
On why he’s focused on supporting education in Newark:
“Well I think Newark needs help. I think Cory [Booker has] done a great job of developing the help. He was helped tremendously by Mark Zuckerberg and a $100 million grant that he made. And we are very concerned about the transition of teachers. And the way the system is set up now, it is a last in-first out basis. In other words, the last teacher hired is fired. And in Newark we arranged to really work out a deal with the unions. And the unions came in and worked with us on it. And what happened was that we actually bought out the bad teachers and kept the good teachers. In other words bought them out, paid their contracts off.”
On his fifth grandchild being born yesterday:
“I welcomed the fifth grandchild yesterday…Outdoing the Queen and the Duchess by a slight amount. And actually beating the doctor who delivered the baby by about two hours. Because two hours after the baby arrived, the doctor went into labour and had her child.”
On whether he reads every email he receives:
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