Howard Marks, the 77-year-old co-founder of $172bn investment group Oaktree Capital Management, has been diagnosed with a curable form of throat cancer and will undergo surgery followed by radiation treatment.
“I was recently diagnosed with a relatively common form of throat cancer,” Marks wrote in a note to investors dated May 3. “The treatment is pretty routine, and the probability of a cure in my case (cure, not remission) is estimated at between 95 per cent and 99 per cent.”
Marks set up Oaktree in 1995 with Bruce Karsh, the group’s chief investment officer, and three others. It has expanded beyond its roots in distressed debt and now runs money across credit, private equity, real assets and listed equities.
Marks is the public face of Oaktree, travelling the world talking to clients and setting the company’s investment philosophy and macroeconomic positioning.
He has carved out a reputation as an unequivocal contrarian and closely followed observer of market psychology, known for his popular investment memos, which are received by 200,000 or so people, including Warren Buffett.
“I’m confident knowing Oaktree and its clients will be in the very competent hands of my colleagues during my absence,” Marks wrote in the note, saying that he anticipated being “fully back in action around midsummer”.
He added: “I have no worry that we’ll miss a step. This bit of ‘maintenance’ is nothing but a natural part of ageing . . . a process I expect to be engaged in, working with you, for many years to come.”
Oaktree confirmed the contents of the memo.