Joseph A. Sullivan will take over as CEO of Allspring Global Investments, the new name for Wells Fargo Asset Management, after its sale to GTCR and Reverence Capital Partners finalizes in second half of year.
Mr. Sullivan will succeed Wells Fargo Asset Management CEO Nico Marais. Mr. Sullivan, who is former CEO and chairman of Legg Mason, will also serve as executive chairman of Allspring.
Mr. Marais will retire from the CEO role when the deal closes but will remain at Allspring as senior adviser.
"Joe is recognized as one of the asset management industry's most respected leaders, and he will be exceptionally valuable as we execute on our growth strategy,'' Collin Roche, managing director of GTCR, said Monday in a news release. "We would like to thank Nico Marais for his strong leadership of WFAM, and we are pleased that he will continue to serve as a senior adviser."
Private equity firm GTCR and private investment firm Reverence Capital Partners agreed in February to acquire Wells Fargo Asset Management from Wells Fargo & Co. in a $2.1 billion deal. The sale of the firm, which has $604 billion in assets under management, is expected to close in the third quarter of the year, Mr. Sullivan said in a telephone interview. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions.
Speaking about the company's future, Mr. Sullivan said: "This is a very exciting and enormous opportunity."
The deal creates "a standalone pure play asset manager with scale" that will be free from pressures created by a large organization, he said.
Mr. Sullivan said that he will be focused on organic growth through core strategies such as fixed-income, emerging markets and U.S. midcap strategies in an effort to reach the overall goal of increasing market share in the U.S.
"We are not satisfied with our standing," he said, adding that based on his assessment of the firm's historical performance and flows, he believes the firm's market share should be higher.
Mr. Sullivan added that the firm's international business is smaller than the firm wants it to be despite "solid" presence in the U.K., Europe, Japan, Singapore, Hong-Kong and Melbourne. "We are going to focus on how we can elevate our international presence and business relative to the total," he added.
Allspring is also expected to see investments from its new owners. Mr. Sullivan said that the buyers are committed to investing in technology and distribution capabilities. "The majority of our people that we will bring to the organization will be technology or client-facing," he added.