A Conversation with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Citadel’s Ken Griffin


Finance mogul Ken Griffin made international headlines when he announced the relocation of his firm, Citadel, from its longtime home in Chicago to Miami. Since then, Citadel has leased space at trophy office tower 830 Brickell and unveiled plans to build new waterfront headquarters on Biscayne Bay in Miami’s Financial District – Brickell.

The firm is wasting no time making an impact on the local community through sponsorships and donations, including support for The Underline and a scholarship program launched by Venture Miami.

On Monday, November 7, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez discussed the future of the City with Griffin at an event organized by the Economic Club of Miami, during which the financier explained why he sees a bright future for his adopted home. Below are three key takeaways from the conversation, hosted by Miami-Dade College.

How Can I Help?

In a real-world illustration of Suarez’ ‘how can I help?’ mantra, Griffin recounted his first meeting with the Mayor. Prior to Citadel’s relocation announcement, Suarez traveled to Chicago for a meet and greet. Within 30 minutes of their introduction, the Mayor had already identified a handful of development sites that could accommodate Citadel’s plans for a new HQ. We may never know if the firm’s eventual site – 1201 Brickell Bay Drive – was on the list, but it’s clear that the Mayor made a strong first impression.

Taxes Aren’t the Problem

Griffin noted that taxes were not part of Citadel’s decision to come to Florida, and instead emphasized the state government’s ability to create value through tax-funded initiatives, including education, public safety, and climate resiliency. As a business leader, a government that is committed to remaining competitive by creating prosperity for its residents is vital to economic development. This promotes entrepreneurship, amplifying job market vibrancy, and thereby boosting city and state revenue.

Pros of the Private Sector

Griffin believes private sector activism is essential to a healthy ecosystem. Cutting through the red tape of bureaucracy by activating the private sector is an effective manner for unlocking solutions where they are needed most. This is evident in Griffin’s support for Miami Connected, which partnered with Achieve Miami to service local kids who were “behind in a profound way” due to a lack of high speed internet service. This issue was amplified during the pandemic, when online learning became the norm. To help Miami retain talent, Citadel is also supporting a new Venture Miami scholarship program which is closing the funding gap for STEM students entering college. to in-need Miami residents were also made, benefiting those who’ve been accepted into a bachelor’s degree program in a STEM field or high-demand occupation.