BlackRock's Blake Grossman Will Leave Firm One Year After BGI Acquisition

Blake Grossman, the former chief executive officer of Barclays Global Investors, plans to depart one year after BlackRock Inc. completed the acquisition of BGI, to take time off before resuming a career in the financial industry.

Grossman will leave to “explore new opportunities,” after helping with the integration of BGI into BlackRock over the past year, CEO Laurence D. Fink said today in a memo to employees, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. Grossman, who will remain with New York-based BlackRock in an advisory role through the end of the first quarter, may partner with the company in the future, according to the memo.

BlackRock in December 2009 completed its $15.2 billion acquisition of BGI from London-based Barclays Plc, which made it the world’s largest asset-management firm. At the time, Grossman, 48, was named a BlackRock vice chairman and head of scientific investments, which included the firm’s passive equity business and the unit that employed mathematical models to pick stocks.

Grossman, a Stanford University graduate who co-wrote a research paper in the 1980s with Nobel Prize-winning economist William Sharpe, said in an interview that that he may reconnect with former colleagues in academia and look at “less-explored spaces in the financial industry.”

“I’m not in a great hurry to figure out what’s next,” Grossman said. “I would like to step back and take a little time to determine what to do over the next few years.”

BlackRock’s acquisition of BGI, the largest to bring together actively managed funds and index products such as exchange-traded funds, has prompted some senior executives to retire as they cashed out equity stakes and others to leave amid changes.

Departures

Scott Amero retired as co-head of BlackRock’s bond unit last year after a 20-year career with the company. Curtis Arledge, who was chief investment officer of BlackRock’s fixed- income division, last year joined Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Kristi Mitchem, a former managing director at the firm’s retirement unit, went to State Street Corp. Rory Tobin, the former head of the iShares non-U.S. exchange-traded fund business, also left last year.

BlackRock has revamped its leadership since the acquisition, naming Rich Kushel head of portfolio management and appointing executives to lead newly created regional units. Over the past year, Grossman’s investment responsibilities have been split between Kushel and Ken Kroner, an executive at BlackRock’s quantitative equity unit.

Grossman joined Wells Fargo Investment Advisors after graduating with a master’s degree in economics from Stanford in 1985. In 1996, the Wells Fargo division was acquired by Barclays and became what was known as Barclays Global Investors. In 1992, Grossman started BGI’s group that used quantitative strategies and mathematical models to try to beat markets.

-- Editors: Christian Baumgaertel, Josh Friedman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam in Boston at sbhaktavatsa@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net.

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