BlackRock is shaking up the top ranks of management, creating a new global product strategy group led by Stephen Cohen that will latch onto the global growth of exchange-traded funds and combine active and index strategies.
The world's largest asset manager also promoted Rachel Lord as head of all international business across Europe, the Middle East, India and Asia-Pacific, BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink and President Rob Kapito said Jan. 12 in a memo to employees.
Salim Ramji, global head of iShares and index investments, will leave BlackRock after a decade at the firm to pursue a senior role elsewhere, according to the memo. Ramji helped oversee a massive expansion of the firm's ETF business.
The Global Product Solutions group "will sharpen our commercial focus on active and private markets strategies and help deliver high-performing products to our clients in those areas," Fink and Kapito wrote. "It will develop innovative new strategies where our clients are looking to allocate capital in their portfolios, and it will help us better respond to client demand for customized solutions."
BlackRock disclosed the management overhaul at the same it reported fourth-quarter results and announced that it's buying Global Infrastructure Partners for about $12.5 billion in a major push into alternative assets.
The GIP agreement came as the firm posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings with inflows pushing its total client assets back above $10 trillion for the first time in two years. BlackRock shares fell slightly at 7:05 a.m. in early New York trading.
Fink, 71, is handing Cohen and Lord significantly more responsibilities after saying last year that he and the board have no higher priority than succession planning and developing the next generation of leaders.
Cohen, whose new title is chief product officer, has been BlackRock's head of Europe, Middle East and Africa since April 2021, and he previously led wealth and index investment businesses in EMEA as well as global fixed-income indexing. He joined BlackRock in 2011 from Nomura Holdings Inc.
Lord was previously BlackRock's chair and head of Asia-Pacific, overseeing all businesses in the region including in China, India and South Korea, and led the EMEA region before that. She joined BlackRock in 2013 from Citigroup, and previously worked for 13 years at Morgan Stanley.
Edwin Conway, global head of equity private markets and who previously headed BlackRock's alternatives unit, also plans to depart after working on the integration of GIP.
Other management changes:
- Brent Patry will lead the equity private markets group, comprising private equity, secondaries, real estate and capital markets
- Susan Chan will become head of Asia-Pacific
- Charles Hatami, global head of the financial and strategic investors group and head of the Middle East, will join the company's global executive committee