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Rating:As a $604B-AUM Firm Rebrands, a New CEO Springs In Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, July 27, 2021

As a $604B-AUM Firm Rebrands, a New CEO Springs In

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A soon-to-be-PE-backed, $604-billion-AUM fund firm will take on a new name, under a new chief, when the deal closes later this year.

Joseph A. "Joe" Sullivan
Wells Fargo Asset Management
Incoming Chairman & CEO
Yesterday, Collin Roche, managing director of GTCR LLC, and Milton Berlinski, co-founder and managing partner of Reverence Capital Partners, L.P., confirmed that Joe Sullivan will take over as CEO of Wells Fargo Asset Management [profile] (WFAM), which will also rebranded as Allspring Global Investments (while the Wells Fargo Funds will become the Allspring Funds). Both changes are slated to take effect when GTCR and Reverence's planned acquisition of WFAM closes later this year. (The plan, publicly unveiled back in February, is for Wells Fargo & Company to hang on to a 9.9 percent stake of WFAM and for WFAM employees to own a big stake, too.)

The deal is still described as being expected to close in the second half of 2021, i.e. by December 31 at the latest. Yet the mutual fund rebranding timeline is more specific: the change is currently scheduled for October 11.

Sullivan, who was already joining WFAM as chairman, will succeed current WFAM CEO Nico Marais. When the deal closes and Reverence and GTCR spin WFAM out of Wells Fargo and rebrand the asset manager, Marais will retire and become a senior advisor to Allspring.

Roche describes the planned rebranding and succession as "key milestones in the transformation of WFAM info a focused, independent, global asset management firm serving private wealth and institutional clients around the world."

"We are excited about the possibilities of our new name, Allspring Global Investments, and that Joe Sullivan will become Allspring's CEO. Joe is recognized as one of the asset management industry's most respected leaders, and he will be exceptionally valuable as we execute on our growth strategy," Roche states. "We would like to thank Nico Marais for his strong leadership of WFAM, and we are pleased that he will continue to serve as a senior advisor."

"We are pleased to have a leader of Joe's stature to take us forward as a newly independent company, and we are very grateful to Nico for his strong continued partnership during this time," Berlinski states.

Sullivan, for his part, lauds Nico and the WFAM team for their "depth of investment expertise" and the quality of the firm's "people and leadership."

"Our new name truly embodies a renewed corporate culture and commitment to continue to invest thoughtfully and partner with our clients to navigate the future," Sullivan states.

And Marais describes the closing of the deal as the right time, "personally and professionally," for him to step back.

Sullivan most recently served as chairman and CEO of Legg Mason, until it was acquired a year ago. He rejoined Legg in 2008 and took over in 2012, first as interim CEO. Earlier, he led fixed income capital markets at Stifel Nicolaus and worked at Legg Mason Wood Walker, Dain Bosworth, and Piper Jaffray. He is an alumnus of St. John's University.

Marais joined WFAM in 2017 as president and head of multi-asset solutions, before rising to co-CEO, and then sole CEO, in 2019. Earlier, he served as global head of multi-asset investing and portfolio solutions at Schroders. He also held leadership roles with BlackRock and BGI, and he served as a trader with the World Bank Group and the South African Reserve Bank. He is an alumnus of the University of South Africa and of Stellenbosch University. 

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