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Rating:Cieszko to Take Reins at Evergreen Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cieszko to Take Reins at Evergreen

Reported by Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Peter Cieszko is in line to take over the top job at Wachovia's investment management arm, an industry insider told the MFWire Tuesday. Laura Fay, a spokeswoman for Evergreen confirmed Cieszko's appointment and said that current Evergreen Investments CEO Dennis Ferro, 63, will retire at the end of the year. Ferro's succession plan had been in the works for 12 to 18 months, Fay said.

Fay also said David Germany will be joining Evergreen from Morgan Stanley as chief investment officer in August. Ferro had been filling the role on an interim basis.

Evergreen employees were told of the moves on Tuesday, according to the Wednesday's WSJ FundTrack. Cieszko told the paper that he plans to bolster Evergreen Funds' distribution by increasing their profile at Wachovia. He also said that he expects the fund family's redemptions to "start to turn [around] in the next year or two."

Cieszko, who is 48 years old, currently heads Evergreen's global distribution arm and has been at the asset manager for three years. Before joining Evergreen he was the head of global distribution for Legg Mason. He joined the Baltimore-based Legg Mason as part of the asset managers swap of assets with CitiGroup. Earlier in his career, Cieszko was a top executive in Citi's Smith Barney arm where he played a key role in that wirehouse's separately managed account (SMA) efforts.

He steps into the post as Evergreen faces challenges in its fixed income portfolios which have been hit by the credit crunch and losses in its money market funds. So far this year, the mutual funds have seen nearly $10 billion in outflows based on data collected by Morningstar. Evergreen currently claims $41.5 billion in mutual fund assets out of $258 billion in total AUM.

In response to its losses in asset-backed bonds, Wachovia purchased $40 million of securities held by the funds to keep them from breaking the buck. Evergreen also liquidated its Ultra Short Opportunities Fund in June after that fund suffered heavy losses in its asset base.

Ferro, who had acted as interim CIO since the departure of Chris Conkey last August, told the Journal that the turmoil in the funds had nothing to do with his decision to retire.

"I don't think it'll be a shock to anybody in the business," said Ferro, speaking about the news of his coming retirement to the paper. 

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