There’s a rumour going around that Shane Dinneen, the Pershing Square hedge-fund analyst who worked on the firm’s famous Herbalife short, has been canned.
We’ve been in touch with Pershing Square. The firm denies that the rumour is true, according to a spokesperson. A person who answered Dinneen’s phone said he was not immediately available but still with the firm.
Dinneen — a tall, red-headed native Texan and Harvard grad — has been at Pershing Square since 2008.
He was the analyst Ackman tasked with researching Herbalife before the fund decided to amass a huge short position.
Ackman listened intently to Richard’s pitch about Herbalife, but was busy at the time with a highly successful proxy fight for control of Canadian Pacific Railway. He turned the Herbalife idea over to two of his employees, Shane Dinneen, a young Harvard graduate — who bears an uncanny resemblance to Conan O’Brien — and to Mariusz Adamski, whom Ackman had met on the tennis court and then hired as an intern. The two read public documents, reviewed old lawsuits, watched strange selling videos, and learned about Herbalife’s bizarre, charismatic founder, Mark Hughes. They discovered that, a few years earlier, Barry Minkow, a convicted felon and founder of the infamous 1980s swindle ZZZZ Best, had in 2008 publicly called into question Herbalife’s practices. To avoid a costly legal battle, Herbalife had paid him $US300,000. (Minkow is now in prison, for another scam.)
Last year, at a special Sohn Conference, Dinneen took the stage alongside Ackman and helped deliver the 342-slide presentation on Herbalife.
Since Pershing Square unveiled its Herbalife short a year ago, shares of the nutritional company’s stock have risen more than 131%. The firm’s bet, in other words, has cost it a boatload of money. And the pain (and losses) shows no signs of stopping.