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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Mark Mitchell, the co-founder of Starboard Value LP who helped turn it into one of Wall Street’s most high-profile activist hedge funds, retired from the New York-based firm earlier this month, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Mitchell retired from Starboard effective Jan. 15, according to an automated response received by Reuters following a request for comment emailed to him. A Starboard spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Mitchell co-founded Starboard in 2002 with Jeffrey Smith as an activist strategy inside investment firm Ramius LLC. They spun Starboard out into an independent firm in 2011. Smith is the firm’s chief executive officer and chief investment officer.

Starboard now manages roughly $5 billion in assets and has cemented its reputation for taking a hands-on role in improving operations at companies such as Darden Restaurants Inc, where it succeeded in ousting the entire board in 2014.

On Wall Street the firm is known for its success in winning board seats. Last year it received 29 seats on public company boards, more than any other activist, and all through negotiated settlements, data from Lazard show.

More recently, Starboard has taken positions in eBay Inc and Dollar Tree Inc.

Prior to joining Ramius in July 1999, Mitchell was a managing director at BT Alex Brown Inc, where he was responsible for proprietary equity arbitrage trading in New York.

At Starboard, Mitchell’s title was managing member, portfolio manager and head of risk management and trading.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler

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