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BlackRock shakes up management amid succession planning

A BlackRock building is seen in New York June 12, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Thayer
A BlackRock building is seen in New York June 12, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

By Ashley Lau and John McCrank

NEW YORK (Reuters) - BlackRock Inc is reorganizing its senior management ranks as the world's largest money manager works towards an eventual succession plan for Larry Fink, its chief executive officer and co-founder.

New York-based BlackRock, which manages $4.3 trillion in assets, is shifting at least 10 senior executives into new or expanded roles, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters on Sunday.

The moves come as BlackRock seeks to groom its next generation of senior management, allowing them to take on greater responsibility and prepare for when the company eventually names a successor to 61-year-old Fink.

Both Fink and BlackRock president Rob Kapito will maintain their current roles. BlackRock spokesman Brian Beades said that in an internal conference call, "Larry and Rob made it clear that they will be here for years to come."

Among those moving into new roles are Rob Goldstein, a 20-year BlackRock veteran, who will be taking on the role of chief operating officer from Charlie Hallac, a longtime veteran of the company who has been battling colon cancer and will be stepping out of his role to become co-president of BlackRock. They will assume their new roles June 1.

Goldstein, who currently serves as global head of the asset management firm's institutional client business, will be replaced in that role by Mark McCombe, current chairman of BlackRock Asia Pacific, a role he will keep until the end of the year. McCombe will also become chairman of BlackRock Alternative Investors.

Both Goldstein and McCombe are among those who are tipped as possible successors to Fink, in addition to Kapito, Global iShares head Mark Wiedman, Chief Financial Officer Gary Shedlin, and Global head of Alpha Strategies, Quintin Price.

ONGOING REORGANIZATION

BlackRock said in the memo the shuffle fits into its strategy of the past five years of challenging its executives by putting them in roles that broaden their horizons and maximize their impact with the firm and its clients.

"Periodically moving leaders to new roles as part of this process was a key rationale for the re-organization of the firm in 2012 and is a key driver of the management changes we are announcing today," the memo said.

In 2012, the company expanded its senior leadership team and reorganized its investment and client-facing businesses in an effort to spur organic growth. In that move, BlackRock replaced its portfolio management group with five new investment groups.

Other moves announced on Sunday include the promotion of Rich Kushel to chief product officer. Kushel is currently head of strategic product management. He will also continue to oversee the BlackRock Investment Institute and the company's corporate governance and responsible investment team.

Ryan Stork, global head of the Aladdin business within BlackRock Solutions, will become head of BlackRock Asia Pacific on June 1 and be based in Hong Kong. He will also become chairman of the division starting next year.

Ken Wilson moves to the role of chairman of Alpha Strategies at BlackRock, after serving as chairman of BlackRock Alternative Investors since its creation.

BlackRock said Salim Ramji, a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, will join the firm later this month as global head of corporate strategy.

Patrick Olson, who is global head of strategy and planning, will become COO of Europe the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and join the EMEA executive committee.

BlackRock is scheduled to report its first-quarter financial results on April 17.

(Reporting by Ashley Lau and John McCrank in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr and Eric Walsh)

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