After decades running one of the most prominent and politically active financial empires, George Soros is handing the reins of his $25 billion Open Society Foundations to his son Alex, the grant-making network confirmed on Monday.
The move is another example of succession planning by Wall Street’s old guard. But the changeover is especially notable because it involves the elder Mr. Soros, whose unabashed support of liberal causes, to the tune of $1.5 billion a year, has long made him a boogeyman of the right.
Alex Soros, the second-youngest of George’s five children, was elected the foundation’s chairman in December. He also serves as president of the Soros super PAC and is the only family member on the investment committee for Soros Fund Management, a private investment management firm.
That will put him in charge of a philanthropic empire, funded from the billions that George Soros made from finance. Over five decades, George Soros cemented his reputation as one of the most successful investors in modern history, particularly when he made more than $1 billion by betting against the British pound in 1992.
George Soros, who has already given $32 billion to the Open Society Foundations, has indicated that his fortune will go to his family’s philanthropic efforts. That encompasses a wide range of causes that the foundation describes as fighting injustice and inequality, something that George Soros traces back to his roots as a Holocaust survivor.
Like his father, Alex Soros leans left politically — “We think alike,” George Soros told The Wall Street Journal, which reported the news earlier — and is a prolific backer of Democratic Party causes. This month, he posted a picture of himself with Vice President Kamala Harris on Twitter and wrote an opinion piece for CNN defending President Biden’s efforts to combat antisemitism.
Alex Soros’s rise was considered unlikely to some: The soft-spoken 37-year-old was better known in his younger days for partying than for finance. Many had considered his half brother Jonathan, a lawyer and former Soros employee, to be the more natural successor, until a falling-out with their father more than a decade ago.
But over the years, Alex Soros became more involved in his father’s philanthropic endeavors.
He is inheriting a high-profile role, one that can make him a prominent political target. George Soros has drawn criticism — some laced with antisemitism — for his political and philanthropic activities for years: The Open Society Foundations shut its offices in George Soros’s native Hungary after facing pressure from the country’s prime minister, Viktor Orban.
And more recently, George Soros became a target of Elon Musk, who compared him on Twitter to the “X-Men” villain Magneto. “He wants to erode the very fabric of civilization,” the billionaire technology executive wrote. “Soros hates humanity.”
“I’m the go-to man when they want to blame someone,” George Soros told The Journal.