BlackRock expands top ranks in second revamp in two years

CEO Fink staying put but lines up new set of deputies and sets new roles for at least 10 execs

Apr 7, 2014 @ 11:06 am

BlackRock Inc., the world's biggest money manager, is expanding top leadership in a reorganization that will result in new roles for at least 10 senior executives.

Charles Hallac, previously chief operating officer, was named co-president, and Rob Goldstein, 40, who currently heads the institutional client business and the firm's Solutions advisory unit, was appointed COO, chief executive Laurence Fink and president Robert Kapito said in a memo to staff Sunday.

The moves mark the biggest management reorganization since 2012, when BlackRock added eight members to its global executive committee and shook up its investment unit to boost returns. BlackRock, co-founded by Mr. Fink, 61, and Mr. Kapito, 56, in a one-room office in 1988, has grown from a bond shop through acquisitions, including its 2009 purchase of Barclays' investment unit, to oversee about $4.3 trillion.

(See also: BlackRock hires JPMorgan veteran as stock investment chief)

“This is not about a change at the top; it's about making sure our leadership collectively gets strengthened,” Philipp Hildebrand, vice chairman of BlackRock, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television's Francine Lacqua. Mr. Fink is “not going anywhere,” he said.

Mr. Hallac will focus in his new role on the firm's strategy and developing its bench of potential leaders, Mr. Fink and Mr. Kapito wrote in the memo. The appointments are effective June 1.

“We are moving these people into new positions, exposing them to new environments and new geographic regions to make sure they are ready when they need to be,” Mr. Hildebrand said.

(Don't miss: Gross' new heir apparent post-El-Erian)

ALADDIN SYSTEM

Mr. Hallac, 49, is battling colon cancer and is at the office every day even as he is undergoing treatment, according to the memo. In one of his most important tasks in his new role, Mr. Hallac — who helped build BlackRock's Aladdin trading system — will lead an effort to evaluate how to improve technology at the firm. The client businesses, investment groups and product management teams will report to Mr. Hallac and Mr. Kapito.

Rich Kushel, who heads the firm's strategic product management group, will become chief product officer, and Mark McCombe, the 48-year-old chairman of the firm's Asia Pacific unit, will become head of BlackRock's institutional client business and chairman of the firm's alternatives unit.

Ryan Stork, global head of the Aladdin business, was named head of the Asia Pacific unit and will be based in Hong Kong. Sudhir Nair will become head of the Aladdin business, which is being renamed Aladdin Institutional. Quintin Price, 52 and head of the firm's Alpha strategies, will move to New York as part of the reorganization. Ken Wilson, who has served as chairman of BlackRock's alternative business, will become chairman of Alpha strategies, working closely with Mr. Wilson. The firm didn't make any fund manager or client relationship manager changes.

ACTIVE UNITS

Mr. Fink has sought to improve performance in the active bond and stock units to attract assets through new hires and reorganization. BlackRock in 2012 set up five new investment units to replace the portfolio management group, previously overseen by Mr. Kushel, who became deputy chief operating officer.

That year, the firm reorganized its bond business to give unit heads Rick Rieder and Kevin Holt greater autonomy and accountability. In 2013, BlackRock's active bond strategies attracted $10.4 billion as fixed-income competitors such as Pacific Investment Management Co. faced redemptions. Mr. Fink has said he hopes the stock business can replicate the success of its fixed-income unit.

BlackRock said in the memo Sunday that it hired Salim Ramji, a senior partner at McKinsey & Co. Inc., as global head of corporate strategy.

BlackRock, which added passive investments such as exchange-traded funds with its takeover of Barclays Global Investors in 2009, manages mutual funds, institutional strategies and alternative products such as hedge funds.

(Bloomberg News)

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