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Cathie Wood

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Cathie Wood
Wood in 2020
Catherine Duddy

1955 (age 68–69)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California (BS)
Occupation(s)CEO and CIO of Ark Invest
Known forFounder of ARK Invest
SpouseRobert Wood (div.)

Catherine Duddy Wood (born 1955)[1] is an American investor and founder, CEO and CIO of Ark Invest, an investment management firm.[2][3][4][5]

Her flagship ARK Innovation exchange-traded fund (ETF) has received accolades for its performance in 2017, 2020 and 2023, but is also considered by Morningstar to be the third highest "wealth destroyer" investment fund from 2014–2023, losing US$7.1 billion of shareholder value in ten years.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Wood was born in Los Angeles, the eldest child of Gerald and Mary Duddy, immigrants from Ireland.[7] Wood's father served in the Irish Army and the United States Air Force as a radar systems engineer.[8] In 1974, Wood graduated from Notre Dame Academy in Los Angeles, an all-girls Catholic high school.[9][10] In 1981, Wood graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California, with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and economics.[3] One of Wood's professors was economist Arthur Laffer, advisor to Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, who became Wood's mentor.[8][11]


In 1977, via her mentor Arthur Laffer, Wood got a job as an assistant economist at Capital Group, where she worked for three years.[8] In 1980, she moved to New York City to take a job at Jennison Associates as chief economist, analyst, portfolio manager and managing director. She worked there for 18 years. In the early 1980s, she debated Henry Kaufman on why she believed interest rates had peaked.[8]

In 1998, along with Lulu C. Wang, Wood co-founded Tupelo Capital Management, a hedge fund based in New York City.[8]

In 2001, she joined AllianceBernstein as chief investment officer of global thematic strategies, where she worked for 12 years, managing $5 billion. She was criticized for performing worse than the overall market during the 2007–2008 financial crisis.[8][3][12]

ARK Invest[edit]

In 2014, after her idea for actively managed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on disruptive innovation was deemed too risky by AllianceBernstein, Wood left the company and founded ARK Invest.[8][3][13][14] The company is named after the Ark of the Covenant; Wood was reading the One-Year Bible at the time.[15] ARK's first four ETFs were seeded with capital from Bill Hwang of Archegos Capital.[16]

Her funds have had mixed results over the years, and have been called rollercoaster rides.[17][18] For the 10 years ending in December 31, 2023, Morningstar ranked ARK Invest Funds as the worst "wealth destroyer" family of funds, based on the "decline in assets in dollar terms, after excluding inflows or outflows."[19]

In 2020, her flagship ARK Innovation (ARKK) exchange-traded fund (ETF) was the top-performing global equity fund with at least $1 billion of assets,[3] and Wood was subsequently named the best stock picker of 2020 by Bloomberg News editor-in-chief emeritus Matthew A. Winkler.[20] In 2023, ARKK was the top-performing actively traded U.S. diversified ETF.[21] However, ARKK fell 24% in 2021 and, in the first quarter of 2022, it was the worst performer among equity funds covered by Morningstar, Inc.[22] For the 10 years ended December 31, 2023, it generated a 122% return, less than half of the Nasdaq-100's 330% return.[23]

The annual returns for ARKK, according to Morningstar:[24]

Year Returns % rank

in category

2015 +4% 75%
2016 -2% 98%
2017 +87% 1% Second-best ETF excluding leveraged/inverse products[25]
2018 +4% 17%
2019 +35% 57%
2020 +149% 1% Top-performing global equity fund with at least $1 billion of assets[3]
2021 -24% 100%
2022 -67% 100% Worst performing equity fund in Q1 2022[22]
2023 +68% 1% Top-performing actively-traded U.S. diversified ETF[21]

Awards and honors[edit]

Wood was selected for the inaugural 2021 Forbes 50 Over 50; made up of entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists, and creators who are over the age of 50.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Wood lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.[27] She was divorced from Robert Wood, who died in 2018. She has three children.[1][28][29]

Wood is a devout Christian.[1] During the 2020 election, she warned that Joe Biden's plan of taxation and regulation would stifle innovation.[30] In 2018, she donated funds to her high school to start the Duddy Innovation Institute, which encourages girls to study disruptive innovation.[10] Wood is a proponent of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies[31][32] and has an allocation of 25% of her net worth in bitcoin as of 2024.[33]


  1. ^ a b c "Cathie Wood: a tech investor doing God's work". Financial Times. March 12, 2021.
  2. ^ Schatzker, Erik (December 18, 2020). "Tesla, Bitcoin Bull Cathie Wood Targets 20% ETF Returns". Bloomberg News.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Winkler, Matthew A. (February 18, 2020). "Cathie Wood, the Best Investor You've Never Heard Of". Bloomberg News.
  4. ^ Ballentine, Claire; Greifeld, Katherine (December 11, 2020). "Cathie Wood Takes Crown From JPMorgan for Largest Active ETF". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021.
  5. ^ Fitzgerald, Maggie (December 23, 2020). "Cathie Wood's ARK Innovation becomes largest actively managed ETF, amid 170% 2020 return". CNBC. Archived from the original on January 19, 2021.
  6. ^ "15 Funds That Have Destroyed the Most Wealth Over the Past Decade". Morningstar, Inc. February 2, 2024. Retrieved February 8, 2024.
  7. ^ Fitzgerald, Maggie (March 29, 2022). "Cathie Wood has been a magnet for criticism. She blames her contrarian views, not her gender". CNBC. Retrieved January 11, 2024.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Liu, Evie (March 8, 2021). "ARK's Cathie Wood Disrupted Investment Management. She's Not Done Yet". Barron's.
  9. ^ Ballentine, Claire (September 26, 2020). "Secret Sauce Behind ARK's Success Is Cathie Wood's Diverse Team". Bloomberg News.
  10. ^ a b "Duddy Innovation Institute – Duddy Innovation Institute – Notre Dame Academy". Notre Dame Academy. Archived from the original on April 16, 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  11. ^ "Forbes profile: Cathie Wood". Forbes.
  12. ^ Cuccinello, Hayley C. (October 13, 2020). "'Go For It': America's Richest Self-Made Women On Founding Businesses After 40". Forbes. Archived from the original on December 21, 2020.
  13. ^ Stupples, Ben (January 14, 2021). "Cathie Wood's ARK Gives Richard Branson a $300 Million Boost". Bloomberg News.
  14. ^ Potter, Sam; Ballentine, Claire (January 14, 2021). "Cathie Wood's Vision for Space ETF Sends Industry Soaring". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021.
  15. ^ So, Dorothy (March 3, 2021). "Cathie Wood: religious, Reddit hit, Trump supporter? Meet Ark Invest's rock star stock picker who even has her own merchandise". South China Morning Post.
  16. ^ "ARK Invest CEO Wood says Bill Hwang provided seed capital for first 4 ETFs- CNBC". Reuters. May 7, 2021.
  17. ^ Weil, Dan (February 8, 2024). "Data shows Cathie Wood's Ark is one of the worst funds - TheStreet". TheStreet. Retrieved March 4, 2024.
  18. ^ Cannivet, Michael (January 9, 2022). "Cathie Wood's Rollercoaster Performance Offers A Familiar Lesson About Volatility". Forbes. Retrieved March 4, 2024.
  19. ^ McGee, Suzanne (February 6, 2024). "Ark Investments tops Morningstar list of 'wealth-destroying ETF issuers -report". Reuters. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  20. ^ Winkler, Matthew A. (December 31, 2020). "The Best Stock Picker of 2020 Wins With Disruptive DNA". Bloomberg News.
  21. ^ a b Krantz, Matt (December 28, 2023). "Cathie Wood Rises To The Top Again — If You Ignore This Fact". Investor's Business Daily. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  22. ^ a b Semenova, Alexandra (April 5, 2022). "Cathie Wood's ARKK is worst-performing US equity fund in Q1 2022: Morningstar". Yahoo! Finance.
  23. ^ Fox, Matthew. "Cathie Wood's Ark Invest has destroyed $14 billion in wealth over the past decade, Morningstar says". Markets Insider. Retrieved March 4, 2024.
  24. ^ "ARKK Stock Price – ARK Innovation ETF Quote | Morningstar". Morningstar, Inc. February 28, 2024. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  25. ^ Roy, Sumit (December 3, 2017). "Top Performing ETFs Of 2017". etf.com. Retrieved March 4, 2024.
  26. ^ Gross, Elana Lyn; Voytko, Lisette; McGrath, Maggie (June 2, 2021). "The New Golden Age". Forbes. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  27. ^ "Investor and innovator, Cathie Wood, moves headquarters from New York to St. Pete". November 5, 2021.
  28. ^ "Robert Wood". Legacy.com.
  29. ^ Rogers, Jen (February 6, 2021). "A typical day for ARK Invest's star stock picker Cathie Wood". Yahoo! Finance.
  30. ^ McInnes, William (October 8, 2020). "Tesla bull warns Biden presidency could stifle innovation". Australian Financial Review.
  31. ^ Li, Yun (January 11, 2024). "Cathie Wood says bitcoin ETF approval makes her $1.5 million bull case more likely". CNBC. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  32. ^ Ge Huang, Vicky (November 15, 2023). "Cathie Wood Has a Message for Investors: You're Worried About the Wrong Thing". The Wall Street Journal.
  33. ^ Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood On Bitcoin ETF & Crypto Investing, retrieved January 12, 2024