February 28, 2023
remembering Bob Kuehn
We are deeply saddened to share the news that Fulcrum’s co-founder, former Chief Investment Officer, and longtime mentor and friend Bob Kuehn recently passed away after a long illness.
Bob’s investment career spanned five decades, and several of us had the great fortune to invest by his side for more than 25 years. He was known as a great investor and was sought-after as a leader of some of the best investment teams in Seattle. While he was indeed a great manager, he loved the investment process most of all, and he always said that working directly with clients was his favorite part of the job.
Bob’s style was folksy and low-key. When he spoke, you listened very closely because you knew he was about to share something precious and wise, or incredibly witty. He could convey more meaning with a simple question than most people say in an hour. In both investing and relationships he was humble and self-deprecating, focused on what really matters, and made simple, impactful decisions. He was always ready to pick up the phone and talked through difficult issues with clarity and patience. He genuinely cared for his clients, and he created more value for them than almost any other investor I know. If my office computer had a bumper sticker, it would read WWBD? – What would Bob do?
Bob climbed the ranks in the 1970’s and ‘80s to become the head of the institutional and private client investment departments at SeaFirst Bank and (through acquisition) Bank of America in Seattle. In parallel with his professional career, he devoted time and talent to our community through leadership roles on executive and investment teams at several nonprofits. He left the bank to start EverTrust Asset Management in 2001. After the sale of EverTrust to Key Bank a few years later, Bob was appointed as the Chief Investment Officer of Key Bank’s wealth management team. As a testimony to his character and ability, many of Bob’s clients and colleagues (including Fulcrum’s co-founder, Darcy Johnson) followed him as he started new firms over the decades.
In 2007, Bob felt called to leave the bank once again and co-founded Fulcrum Capital with his longtime colleague Darcy Johnson as the final chapter of his career. He wanted to bring his vast experience and business acumen to start a new kind of firm, one dedicated to providing the best investment and service experience for clients – something he couldn’t do in a big institution. When he retired from Fulcrum at the end of 2018, Bob assumed the mantle of Co-founder Emeritus. Although he would never have called himself a teacher, much of what we know about investing, leadership, and loyalty, we learned from Bob.
My partners and I at Fulcrum are honored to uphold the culture and values that were Bob’s and Darcy’s vision for Fulcrum. Bob’s legacy is preserved in the integrity of our investment process and in our unwavering commitments to our clients, our community, and to each other. He will be greatly missed as our guide and our friend.