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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

GMO Appoints a CEO for the First Time

by: Armie Margaret Lee

Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. hired AllianceBernstein executive Marc Mayer as its first ever CEO. Mayer, whose appointment takes effect March 2, was most recently executive vice president and chief investment officer of blend solutions at New York-based AllianceBernstein.
Marc Mayer
Incoming CEO

Mayer will be Boston-headquartered investment manager's first CEO since its founding in 1977. GMO, which also has offices in San Francisco, London, Zurich, Singapore and Sydney, has more than 400 employees.

"As the scope and complexity of our firm grew, it seemed increasingly desirable to engage someone with both a proven general management capability and a broad investment background," said Jeremy Grantham, GMO's chairman and chief investment strategist, in a news release.

GMO gears its mutual funds primarily toward the institutional market. On the retail side, it does sub-advisory work for Evergreen Investments (now part of Wells Fargo) and John Hancock Funds.

At AllianceBernstein, Seth Masters will take on Mayer's duties in addition to his current role of leading AllianceBernstein's defined contribution investment-only efforts, company spokesman John Meyers told The MFWire. Masters served as CIO of blend solutions for six years prior to taking the helm of the DC I-O business last fall.
Company Press Release

Boston, MA, February 11, 2009 -- Global investment management firm GMO LLC announced today that the firm's Board of Directors has named Marc Mayer chief executive officer, effective March 2, 2009. Mr. Mayer, formerly executive vice president of AllianceBernstein and chief investment officer of the firm's asset allocation group, assumes leadership of GMO from the firm's Executive Office, completing GMO's transition from a collective management structure to a more efficient and effective model. Mr. Mayer will report to the Board of Directors of GMO.

The firm believes that vesting management authority in a single executive allows its senior partners to focus exclusively on the areas they supervise directly, while firm-wide management decisions can be handled with expediency by the chief executive. "GMO has always been an investment firm first and foremost," said Jeremy Grantham, GMO's chairman and chief investment strategist. "As the scope and complexity of our firm grew, it seemed increasingly desirable to engage someone with both a proven general management capability and a broad investment background. Marc seems to us to be just that person." Mr. Grantham added, "The driving force behind this change is, as it always has been, to produce the best performance we can for our clients."

In his 20 years at AllianceBernstein and predecessor company Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., Mr. Mayer served in a wide range of leadership positions and was a member of the firm's Management Executive Committee. He has been the president and director of the AllianceBernstein mutual funds since 2004. From 2003 to 2008 he was executive managing director of the AllianceBernstein Investments retail business, and from 2001 to 2003, headed AllianceBernstein Institutional Investments. Previously, Mr. Mayer was president of Bernstein Institutional Research Services and CEO of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC, AllianceBernstein's brokerage subsidiary, where he was responsible for institutional research, sales and trading, and served on Bernstein's board of directors. From 1992 to 1998, he directed the highly respected institutional research effort for Bernstein after joining the firm as a research analyst in 1989, following six years at the Squibb Corporation. Mr. Mayer earned his BA in philosophy from Yale University and an MBA from Columbia University.

GMO is an independent, global investment management firm serving corporate, public, endowment and foundation institutional clients. Founded in 1977 on the philosophy of disciplined value-oriented investing and constant innovation, GMO has grown to become one of the world's premier asset management firms. Based in Boston, the firm also has offices in San Francisco, London, Zurich, Singapore, and Sydney and employs more than 500 people worldwide. As of December 31, 2008, GMO managed $86 billion for clients across a broad range of asset classes, using a blend of traditional judgments with innovative quantitative methods to find undervalued securities and markets. Additional information on GMO is available at www.gmo.com.

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