First Eagle's Eveillard will soon name his successor

Jean-Marie Eveillard, he of the thick French accent and incredible multi-decade investing record, is almost ready to retire — again. Eveillard, who managed the First Eagle Global Fund (SGENX) among others, is one of the true contrarian deep-value investors in the world. He retired at the end of 2004 and handed off the First Eagle funds to his hand-picked successor, Charles de Vaulx. But last March, de Vaulx quit unexpectedly and Eveillard was called out of retirement to save the franchise he built.

Thursday night, Eveillard spoke at the Morningstar conference and announced that he has hired from outside his firm a new co-manager for the First Eagle Funds. But he couldn’t name the new manager, who must wait out a three-month non-compete agreement. He said he may also hire one more person from outside. The funds had already brought in Columbia Business School professor Bruce Greenwald to oversee research analysts.

Eveillard said that by September he hopes to be out of day-to-day management responsibility. For another three years, he’ll be loosely on call if the new manager has a question. Otherwise, he’ll finally get the downtime he’s earned.