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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Reynolds' $65MM Putnam Shake Up

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Bob Reynolds is making big changes at Putnam Investments [profile], cutting $65 million in expenses and shaking up his leadership team.

Bob Reynolds
Putnam Investments
President and CEO
Today Reynolds, president and CEO of the Boston-based mutual fund shop, confirms an organizational realignment with cost-cutting measures that include a 115-person staff reduction (about eight percent of Putnam's headcount), cutting "certain non-core business programs", consolidating vendors, and generally lowering expenses. Reynolds also named new investing and operations leaders for the 79-year-old, $154-billion AUM firm.

Paul Mahon, president and CEO of Putnam parent Great-West Lifeco in Canada, confirms that Reynolds' changes will amount to $65 million in total expense reductions. Reynolds notes that though some investment professionals will be affected, most of the staff reductions will come in operations and technology.

"We want to stay as lean and efficient and nimble as possible to be best-positioned for what's down the road," Jon Goldstein, a spokesman for Putnam, tells MFWire.

Meanwhile, at the top of Putnam, effective immediately, Michael Woodall (age 54) will take over as chief of operations and report directly to Reynolds. Woodall's successor, 15-year Putnam veteran Steve Krichmar (58), will retire from the firm.

On the investing side of Putnam, also effective immediately, a trio of new chief investment officers will rise up to succeed seven year CIO Walter Donovan (54), who will leave the firm. Aaron Cooper (39) will become equity CIO, Bill Kohli (55) will become fixed income CIO, and Rob Schoen (49) will become global asset allocation CIO. Cooper, Kohli, and Schoen, like Woodall, will each report directly to Reynolds.

Reynolds praises Cooper, Kohli, and Schoen as "experienced investment professionals at the top of their game," and he calls Woodall "a tremendous operations leader, who brings deep experience and important know-how to this critical area of our firm."

"On behalf of our entire firm, I would like to thank Walter Donovan and Steve Krichmar for their many contributions and dedication to Putnam, and we wish them the best of everything in their next chapters," Reynolds states.

As for the cost-cutting measures, Reynolds puts them in the context of the changing marketplace as passive asset management rises.

"As an active manager that has used innovation, reinvention and agility to serve the market for 80 years, Putnam believes in actively managing its own business. Today's actions will enable us to seize opportunity moving forward," Reynolds states. "Putnam continues to see strong, ongoing opportunity for active management in the marketplace -- and remains highly committed to delivering high-quality differentiated investments products and thought leadership."

"We continue to see a very, very strong opportunity moving forward for active management in the marketplace," Goldstein says. "We're very committed to delivering quality, differentiated investment products and thought leadership. We're optimistic about the future."

At Great-West, Mahon reiterates the "long-term growth opportunities" he sees in the U.S.

"These changes at Putnam reflect the need for the firm to respond to the impact of revenue pressures due to the changing industry environment. Our objective of building a scale, profitable asset management franchise in the United States remains unchanged," Mahon states. "Under the leadership of Putnam CEO Bob Reynolds and his management team, we remain confident in Putnam's ability to deliver value to all stakeholders through strong long-term investment performance, innovative product offerings and award winning service for advisors and investors." 

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