Jim Chanos is head of Kynikos Associates, a short-selling hedge fund with $3 billion under management. Appropriately, the word "kynikos" means cynic in Greek.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Chanos graduated from Yale and cut his teeth at Paine Webber, Gilford Securities and Deutsche Bank, where he specialized in finding overpriced stocks and made a name for himself by predicting the demise of piano maker Baldwin-United. The late 1990s were not kind to Chanos—he was one of the only short-sellers to have made it out of the bull market with a business to speak of—but he reaped his rewards when the markets tumbled in 2000 and 2001. In 2000, Kynikos' Ursus Partners fund generated a nearly 50% return when many other funds were in negative territory, and he performed equally impressively in 2001. These days Chanos manages about $3 billion as part of Kynikos's Ursus and Beta hedge fund families.
Chanos is best known for being the first to call Enron on its accounting shenanigans, tipping Fortune magazine reporter Bethany McLean in the process. According to Trader Monthly, he took home $300-$350 million in earnings in 2007 thanks to the market turmoil.more » « less