September 26, 2014 / 7:09 PM / in 3 years

Exclusive: DoubleLine's Gundlach says met with Gross on role at his firm

Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive and chief investment officer of DoubleLine Capital, speaks at the Sohn Investment Conference in New York, May 5, 2014. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jeffrey Gundlach, who runs bond firm DoubleLine Capital, an investment firm that has been a major competitor of Pimco, told Reuters on Friday that he and Bill Gross met last week to discuss a possible role for Gross at DoubleLine.

Gross, who quit Pimco on Friday to join Janus Capital Group JNS.N, approached Gundlach early last week, which led to a meeting at Gundlach’s home in Los Angeles to discuss a range of issues, Gundlach said in an interview.

Gundlach said: “I am CEO of the firm. We talked about working together, but I was never going to be the ‘co-guy.’ I am CEO. That was never going to happen.”

Gundlach added: “I thought we had a lot in common.”

Gross then called Gundlach Thursday evening and left a voicemail message saying that he was leaving Pimco for another firm and would not be joining DoubleLine.

“It is the right thing,” Gundlach said about Gross’s move to Janus. “He can be the head guy at Janus. He can create his own image. Now he can perform better because he isn’t managing a lot of money. I am working like a well-oiled machine. I don’t need a makeover.”

At Pimco, Gross managed the Pimco Total Return Fund, the world’s largest bond fund with more than $220 billion in assets, and its performance had lagged its peers and the wider bond market for more than a year. At Janus, where he starts on Monday, Gross will take over a fund that was only launched in May and has just $13 million in assets.

Newport Beach, California-based Pimco is the U.S. asset management unit of German financial services company Allianz SE (ALVG.DE).

Gundlach said he told Gross he found his situation “distressing” because Gundlach himself had worked for a European institution.

In 2009, Gundlach was fired by the TCW Group, which at the time was owned by Societe Generale SA. “I said, it’s lousy to be majority owned by a European institution,” Gundlach added.

Reporting by Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Steve Orlofsky

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