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Rating:OppenheimerFunds CIO Departs Amid Changes at the Investment Team Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

OppenheimerFunds CIO Departs Amid Changes at the Investment Team

by: Armie Margaret Lee

OppenheimerFunds CEO Bill Glavin, who took the reins of the New York investment manager in January, on Tuesday afternoon unveiled unveiled a slew of changes within the investment team, including the splitting of the chief investment officer role into two positions, and the formation of a high yield corporate debt team. Glavin also said he is planning changes in the sales and marketing functions that will result in a more streamlined approach to communications with clients.

Glavin tapped Chris Leavy as CIO of equities, and Art Steinmetz as CIO of fixed income. The company's current CIO, Kurt Wolfgruber, has decided to leave the firm on April 30.

Dividing the CIO role into two would add depth and resources to the equities and fixed income teams, said OppenheimerFunds spokeswoman Jeaneen Pisarra.

The company also appointed Joseph Welsh to head up the newly formed high yield corporate debt team.

Meanwhile, Oppenheimer gave an update on its efforts to bolster its risk management capabilities. Effective immediately, Geoff Craddock, head of risk management and Mark Vandehey, head of compliance, will join Kristina Olson, head of internal audit, in reporting directly to Glavin.

"The changes are part of a plan to strengthen the operations of the organization and to position it for the future," Pisarra said.
Company Press Release

NEW YORK, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- OppenheimerFunds, Inc. (OFI) today announced a number of changes intended to strengthen the investment manager's business operations. The steps announced by OFI Chief Executive Officer Bill Glavin include strengthening OFI's investment organization and elevating the risk management function. The Company is also planning changes in its sales and marketing functions, which will allow for a more streamlined approach to communications with its clients.

"OppenheimerFunds, Inc. is committed to delivering investment excellence over the long-term," said Mr. Glavin. "Each of the changes announced today is part of OFI's business plan to focus on OFI's core mutual fund and closely-related businesses and will allow OppenheimerFunds to better meet the needs of our clients in today's market and beyond."

Strengthening OFI's Investment Organization

OppenheimerFunds is strengthening its investment organization and enhancing its portfolio management teams. The following changes to the leadership of the investment organization, some of which were previously announced, are part of the new business plan.

To further deepen its investment management leadership, OFI is creating two new positions in the Investments department: Chief Investment Officer, Equities and Chief Investment Officer, Fixed Income, both of whom will report to Mr. Glavin. As a result, Kurt Wolfgruber, currently OppenheimerFunds' Chief Investment Officer, has decided to leave the firm on April 30.

Chris Leavy will take on the role of CIO, Equities. Mr. Leavy had announced in the fall his plans to leave the firm on March 31, but, after helping shape the business plan for the Company, he recognized the opportunity to help lead the firm into the future and the need for continuity in a challenging business environment. Art Steinmetz, currently Director of Fixed Income Investments will take on the new role of CIO, Fixed Income.

Commenting on Mr. Wolfgruber's departure from OppenheimerFunds, Mr. Glavin said, "Kurt built a successful investment department that allowed for the tremendous growth the Company experienced between 2002 and 2007. As OppenheimerFunds begins a new phase with our Investment group, he decided to give other leaders the opportunity to play a major role in shaping the future of the Company."

Completing a series of leadership changes designed to enhance the Fixed Income department, the Company today named Joseph Welsh as head of a newly-formed High Yield Corporate Debt team. In this capacity, he will serve as Portfolio Manager of the Oppenheimer Champion Income Fund (OPCHX), the high yield portion of Oppenheimer Strategic Income Fund (OPSIX) and all related high yield strategies. He will continue as co-Portfolio manager of Oppenheimer Senior Floating Rate Fund (XOSAX), a fund that invests in syndicated loans to below-investment grade companies.

"The creation of a High Yield Corporate Debt team is a step we are taking to strengthen the Company's taxable fixed income investment capabilities in light of what we have learned from recent market volatility," said Art Steinmetz, CIO, Fixed Income. "Consolidating the management of below investment grade assets on a single, proven team is the right strategy moving forward and Joe's extensive experience will serve us well."

Mr. Welsh joined OppenheimerFunds in January 1995 as a high yield bond analyst and became Vice President and Co-Portfolio Manager of Senior Floating Rate Fund in September 1999. Mr. Welsh has specialized in non-investment grade debt investing since 1991. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

As previously announced, Krishna Memani assumed today Portfolio Manager responsibilities for Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund (OPIGX), Oppenheimer Limited-Term Government Fund (OPGVX), and Oppenheimer US Government Trust Fund (OUSGX). He was hired last month by OFI as head of the Investment Grade Fixed Income team.

OppenheimerFunds' taxable fixed income area is now comprised of three investment teams: Investment Grade Fixed Income, High Yield Corporate Debt, and International Fixed Income.

Elevating Risk Management

OppenheimerFunds continues to enhance its risk management capabilities. In response to a changed market environment, the Company is raising the profile of risk management and control across the organization, giving Mr. Glavin direct access and support from the Risk Management, Compliance and Internal Audit functions. Effective immediately, Geoff Craddock, Head of Risk Management and Mark Vandehey, Head of Compliance, will join Kristina Olson, Head of Internal Audit, in reporting directly to Mr. Glavin.

"As a result of the unprecedented market volatility and dislocation in 2008, companies across the financial services industry are taking a close look at how to enhance their risk management and control functions," said Mr. Glavin. "The new reporting structure for these groups will enable me to have direct oversight of these important functions."

Enhancing Communications Efficiency

An important element of OppenheimerFunds business plan is to enhance communications with clients to help ensure investors', advisors' and consultants' performance expectations are aligned with the Company's for a particular product.

"A key priority for OppenheimerFunds is to improve the flow of information across the organization and out to our clients," said Mr. Glavin. "We have begun exploring ways to create a stronger, more efficient communications infrastructure that will better serve investors, advisors and other constituents."

Details on the nature and leadership of these initiatives will be announced in the coming months.

About OppenheimerFunds, Inc.

OppenheimerFunds, Inc. is one of the nation's largest and most respected investment management companies. The Oppenheimer funds managed by OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and its subsidiary have more than 6 million shareholder accounts.
 

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