George Kellner ’67
When George Kellner ’67 explains the mission statement behind his 30-year-old hedge fund, Kellner DiLeo & Co., he puts into clear relief the tectonic shifts that have occurred on Wall Street over the past 30 years. “The underlying theme was always to align my interests with those of my first investors, which just so happened to be my mother, father, and some close friends,” he says with a quick chuckle.
Kellner’s family immigrated to the United States from Hungary in 1947, and he has not lost an affinity for his roots. In 2009, the government of that country awarded him its Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit for his support of Hungarian students in the United States, and for supporting the American studies discipline in Hungary.
Kellner is proud of the honor, and his work offering young people practical assistance to build toward long-term success reflects the methodical hand with which he guides his company. He remains steadfast in his support of the company’s goals and always maintains a watchful eye on the big picture.
From its founding in 1981, Kellner DiLeo was focused on merger arbitrage, but the firm has expanded into distressed and high-income securities, as well as matched-book securities lending. With just 30 employees, Kellner DiLeo is a case study in focus and restraint. “I didn’t want to be the richest, or to be the Babe Ruth of the hedge-fund world,” he says. “I wanted to be here through thick and thin. Of course, you have to take some risks to make money, but I wanted the risks to be disproportionate to the rewards. I don’t like bell-shaped curves, I like positive asymmetrical curves.”