Point72's ex-McKinsey strategy chief departs for construction rental firm

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Michael Zea, the executive hired by Point72 Asset Management to lead a team of strategists searching for new areas to invest owner Steve Cohen’s billions, has left the firm after two years for a role at a construction equipment rental company.

Zea has joined United Rentals, the sprawling U.S. equipment rental firm with over 1,000 locations across the country, as vice president of strategy. He was hired in April 2015 by Point72’s president Doug Haynes to “lead Point72’s exploration of new investment areas” for deploying “excess capital”, according to a statement at the time. He was also responsible for developing strategies for more efficient internal processes.

Zea is a long-time management consultant, having spent nearly 14 years at Oliver Wyman, where he was made partner in 1996, before switching directly into a partner position at McKinsey in New York in 2005. He left in December 2012 to become president and CEO for the U.S. at marketing firm Amia, where he stayed until joining Point72.

Haynes is himself a former director at McKinsey, a role he took in 1992 after working as a programmer for the Central Intelligence Agency. He joined Point72 in 2013, initially as head of human capital, after taking a call from Cohen shortly after he closed down his hedge fund SAC Capital Advisers following an insider trading investigation.

"He says 'I need you to put together a McKinsey team,' and I said 'Tell me about it,'” Haynes told OneWire. “He says 'We've exited all of our outside capital, and we've had a bunch of change, and downsized the firm. We've made all these big changes, and we really need to reset the firm. I want a new strategy.'"

Zea led a team of strategists at Point72 including ex-McKinsey consultant John Mongan, who is associate director of strategy and Philip Farese, who joined from Emphase Energy in June, where he was chief strategy officer.

Despite its ambitions to manage external capital again, Point72 Asset Management remains the ‘family office’ overseeing the estimated $11bn fortune of Steve Cohen. Point72 is reportedly eyeing a massive $20bn hedge fund launch next year – the biggest ever launch, and more capital than SAC Capital at its peak.

Point72 did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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