Jack Cunningham, J&W Seligman CIO Until Acquisition, Dies at 49

Jack Cunningham, who oversaw $18 billion in assets as chief investment officer at J&W Seligman & Co. when he retired in 2008 after Ameriprise Financial Inc. bought the firm, has died. He was 49.

He died at home on Dec. 20 after battling a brain tumor for six years, according to his wife, Holland Burford Cunningham.

Cunningham began his career in asset management at New York-based investment bank Salomon Brothers Inc., where he became a group head of Salomon Brothers Asset Management and manager of the Salomon Investors Value Fund, according to a death notice in the New York Times. Cunningham later joined J&W Seligman as CIO in 2004, according to a profile on LinkedIn Corp.’s website.

“Jack had a stellar track record as a money manager, but what distinguished him was first and foremost what a decent guy he was,” Richard Rosen, a former colleague at New York-based J&W Seligman and now fund manager at Ameriprise, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “He had a real gentlemanly quality that is sometimes missing here in New York in this business.”

Cunningham also helped manage the Seligman Common Stock Fund and the Seligman Income and Growth Fund, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Cunningham retired when Minneapolis-based Ameriprise bought closely-held J&W Seligman for $440 million.

Virginia Native

John Berton Cunningham was a native of Richmond, Virginia, according to the notice. He attended St. Christopher’s School before his family moved to Atlanta, where he graduated from Westminster Schools.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.

Cunningham was a member of the Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York and served on the finance and rector’s search committees.

In addition to his wife, survivors include his three children, Reid, Charlotte and Eloise; parents William and Ruth Cunningham of Richmond; and a twin brother, Allen A. Cunningham, and a sister, Fleming Cunningham Lunsford, both of Charlottesville, Virginia, according to a notice in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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