As Valerie Baudson takes charge today as chief executive officer of Amundi, Europe's biggest money manager, she says pressure on margins from low interest rates, intensifying competition from rivals like BlackRock and the development of passive management will be among her biggest challenges.
Add to that an expansion in Asia and rising ambitions for ESG investments, and the 50-year-old has her plate full. Ms Baudson has taken over a firm with about €1.76 trillion ($2.14 trillion) under management from Yves Perrier, who's now chairman.
"We will consolidate our leadership in Europe and amplify our development in Asia," Ms. Baudson said in a written response to questions.
With her ascension, Ms. Baudson has become the top-ranking woman in European money management. Her rise coincides with the emergence of the turbo-charged exchange-traded fund sector — which she expects will grow at an annual 12% clip over the next five years — as a game changer for the continent's industry. It's a sector she knows better than anyone at Amundi, having helped build the business that is now hauling in mountains of investor money — total assets held across Europe's ETFs reached €1 trillion for the first time in 2020, according to data from Morningstar.
"Her background in ETFs and thematic investing areas, where the group is looking to expand, made her an obvious internal candidate," said Michael Sanderson, head of European diversified financials research at Barclays.
Only the second CEO since the creation of Amundi through the merger of the asset management units of Credit Agricole and Societe General in 2010, Ms. Baudson has made clear she will not so much be designing a new strategy as delivering on the ambitious objectives set by Mr. Perrier.