Paul McCulley is leaving PIMCO as chief economist in another key staff change, nine months after he joined at the urging of former Chief Investment Officer William H. Gross, the money manager said Friday in a statement.
“Paul returned to PIMCO last May after being recruited by Bill Gross, with whom he had a close friendship and association for more than 20 years,” Daniel Ivascyn, Pacific Investment Management Co.'s group chief investment officer, said in the statement.
Mr. McCulley's last day will be Feb. 28, the statement said. A replacement has not yet been named.
PIMCO announced Feb. 10 that Joachim Fels, former chief economist at Morgan Stanley, would join the firm as global economic adviser. Sources say Mr. Fels will be filling Mr. McCulley's role.
Mr. McCulley previously worked at PIMCO in two previous stints, the last as a portfolio manager from 1999 to 2010.
Mr. McCulley, in an e-mailed statement to Pensions & Investments, said, “I made the decision to step down from this position over the weekend after Bill resigned on Sept. 26. The existential reason I took the job had left the building. Today represents the implementation of that decision, reflecting sufficient passage of time not to be distractive of a firm that will always be special in my heart.”
He added, “Pimco's unfolding transition from a founder-driven, partnership culture to a franchise-driven, corporate ethos is a natural evolution for the firm, in many ways ironic evidence of the founders.”
Mr. Gross recruited Mr. McCulley following the departure of Mohamed El-Erian, who was CEO and shared the CIO title with Mr. Gross.
Mr. McCulley, a longtime friend of Mr. Gross, took over some of Mr. El-Erian's responsibilities as the public face of PIMCO, commenting on central bank and global macroeconomic issues.