Pimco Emerging Market Equity Head Masha Gordon Leaves

Masha Gordon, head of emerging-markets equities at Pacific Investment Management Co. in London, said she is leaving the firm after four years to take up a role in academia.

Virginie Maisonneuve, Pimco’s deputy chief investment officer and global head of equities, will be portfolio manager for the company’s emerging-markets equities strategy, the Newport Beach, California-based firm said in an e-mailed statement today.

Gordon said she plans to become a senior fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Boston “to focus on my longstanding interests in social impact investing and board-level governance,” according to an e-mailed statement.

Her Pimco EqS Emerging Markets Fund, which has grown to $117 million since its inception in March 2011, advanced 1.6 percent in the three years ended Sept. 16, lagging behind 89 percent of peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index surged almost 18 percent during the same period, including reinvested dividends.

Pimco, best known for its bond strategies led by Chief Investment Officer Bill Gross, started pushing into equities in 2009 to reduce its reliance on fixed-income strategies. Michael Diekmann, CEO of Pimco parent Allianz SE, said last year that the bond manager’s expansion into stocks was proving more difficult than expected.

The firm’s four main equity mutual funds accounted for less than 1 percent of its $1.97 trillion in assets. It has $1.1 billion in its emerging-markets equity strategy, Pimco said in a statement today.

Gordon joined Pimco in 2010 from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., where she ran an emerging-markets fund for seven years and managed about $8 billion in assets. She was previously a reporter in the Washington Post’s Moscow bureau.

Pimco last year hired Maisonneuve from Schroders Plc to lead its equity push after Neel Kashkari, the previous head of the unit, stepped down. Melissa Tuttle was promoted last month to global head of equity trading in London, according to a statement on the company website.

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