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Why This Man Traded in His Job as CEO For a Job as DAD

Former PIMCO chief Mohamed El-Erian, who reportedly earned $100 million in 2011 alone, said he prioritized the wrong things, so he quit his job to focus on parenthood.
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Kids say the darndest things -- and sometimes, they have a point. We talk a lot about work-life balance at Entrepreneur, but perhaps the point would be better made from a child’s perspective.

Mohamed El-Erian surprised everyone when he resigned in January as CEO of PIMCO, the famed asset management firm that, just today, saw the shocking departure of its founder and chief investment officer, Bill Gross. Recently, however, El-Erian wrote an essay for Worth magazine explaining his decision.

It started when the business tycoon was arguing with his 10-year-old daughter about brushing her teeth. At one point, the girl left the bathroom, only to return with a list of milestone moments her father had missed because of work. “The list contained 22 items, from her first day at school and first soccer match of the season to a parent-teacher meeting and a Halloween parade,” El-Erian wrote.


He referred to the moment as a “wake-up call” and said that while he was busy with important meetings and phone calls, he realized that he hadn’t been making enough time for his daughter. So, he shifted his priorities and quit his lucrative job to focus on parenthood.

Some might argue that it’s easier to quit work and focus on family when you have millions of dollars -- El- Erian reportedly made $100 million in 2011 alone -- but the move sends a powerful message, both to his daughter and to parents everywhere: Work isn’t everything.

Still, he hasn’t given up working entirely. These days, El-Erian works multiple part-time jobs that allow him a more flexible schedule and more time at home, such as being the chief economic adviser at Allianz, the company that bought PIMCO in 1999. Even better, his tasks now include making his daughter’s breakfast and taking her to school.