Prudential Names Lillard to Head $550 Billion Bond Unit

  • Sullivan steps down as head to become executive chairman
  • Lillard to retain title as fixed-income investment chief

Prudential Financial Inc., the second-largest U.S. life insurer, promoted Michael Lillard to head of the fixed-income unit, which has about $550 billion of assets under management.

Lillard will replace James J. Sullivan, who will take the post of executive chairman of Prudential Fixed Income on Jan. 1, the Newark, New Jersey-based insurer said Thursday in a statement. Lillard will retain his title as chief investment officer of fixed income.

David Hunt, who leads the insurer’s asset-management division, has been seeking to bolster the business through acquisitions and the recruitment of Wall Street talent. Hunt’s operation oversaw more than $900 billion as of June 30, up from about $580 billion when he was hired in 2011 from McKinsey & Co. He said in the statement that Lillard will focus on day-to-day matters at the fixed income business and supervise investment group heads, while Sullivan will oversee governance and strategic direction.

“Over the last 15 years, Jim Sullivan has built a deep and talented leadership team, rigorous investment process and track record of delivering long-term performance,” Hunt said. “Mike Lillard has led the global investment organization and has demonstrated his capability to lead and grow the business.”

Junk Bonds

Prudential Fixed Income has portfolio management and research teams in London, Singapore, Tokyo and Newark. Among the firm’s best-known money managers is Robert Cignarella, who was hired by Prudential from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in 2013 as co-head of global leveraged finance.

Lillard has been a public voice for the unit. In January, he said that investors concerned about possible defaults of oil and gas companies are overlooking opportunity elsewhere in junk bonds.

“The market has thrown the baby out with the bathwater,” he said at the time.

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