The son of money manager Howard Ganek, a former partner at Neuberger & Berman (and a longtime member of the New York social fray with wife Judie), Ganek grew up in New York and attended Franklin and Marshall College, before following in dad's footsteps and heading into finance. After a stint in the risk arbitrage at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in the early '90s, Ganek joined Steve Cohen's SAC Capital. He spent a decade there establishing his hedge fund credentials, before heading out on his own in 2003 and founding Level Global with fellow SAC alum Anthony Chiasson.
Level Global has offices in Greenwich and on the 15th floor of the Lever House (Ganek generally prefers to work out of the latter), and is a bottoms-up hedge fund that emphasizes stock picking, and then goes long or short depending on Ganek's outlook. In recent years, Ganek made big bets on Adobe, Bank of New York, Cadbury Schweppes, CVS, eBay, Google, Halliburton, and Yahoo. (In other words, he's all over the map, but with a distinct technology flavor.) He's also landed some solid talent in recent years, recruiting Adam Jaffe, a former protégée of Louis Bacon at Moore Capital, as chief operating officer in 2004. Level Global is by no means one of the larger hedge funds in town—it has a puny $2.5 billion under management. But Ganek's taste for the spotlight—unlike so many hedge funders—has made him a well-known presence in New York social circles and he and his wife are regulars at glitzy galas events around town.
On the side
Ganek's art collection is substantial. He's one of the most prominent collectors of work by Richard Prince and photographer Diane Arbus, and he also owns works by Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, John Currin, and Mike Kelley. (When he opened his offices in 2003, he commissioned painter Ed Ruscha to create a work that incorporated the word "Level"; it hangs in the firm's Greenwich headquarters.) Ganek actively donates art and raises money for various arts institutions, too. He promised 13 vintage Diane Arbus photographs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and he's gifted or lent other works to organizations in New York, London and Chicago. Not surprisingly, his art passion has granted him a good deal of social status. Former Guggenheim director Lisa Dennison recruited Ganek as a fundraiser and he helped raise $4 million for the museum in 2006. He's now a Guggenheim trustee.
Trader Monthly magazine estimated Ganek took him $75 to $100 million in 2007.
Dave is married to Danielle Ganek (née Danielle DiGiacomo), a former editor at Mademoiselle and Woman's Day. The couple met in college and married in 1990. Danielle's first novel, Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, was published in June 2007 and revolves around a totally unfamiliar topic for the Ganeks, namely the "white hot center of an art bubble." Lisa Dennison hosted a shindig for the book at the Guggenheim, the back of the book features a winning blurb by Larry Gagosian (who just so happens to be the Ganeks' art dealer), and the Ganeks' neighbor at 740 Park, Alex Kuczynski, praised the book in the Times. In 2005, the Ganeks paid $19 million to purchase a duplex in the fabled building that was previously occupied by former ITT chairman Rand Araskog. The Ganeks also have an expansive spread on Meadow Lane in Southampton.