Manning Returns His Namesake Fund Firm to a Familiar Structure
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Manning Returns His Namesake Fund Firm to a Familiar Structure

The CEO of Manning & Napier [profile] is retiring, and one of the firm's namesakes is stepping up. Yet it's a newly-created but familiar group that will run the firm day-to-day. MFWire interviewed Manning & Napier chief financial officer Jim Mikolaichik about the way the company will work post-Patrick Cunningham.

William Manning
Manning & Napier Advisors, LLC
Co-founder and Chairman of the Board
With Cunningham, age 60 stepping down as CEO, Bill Manning, 79, will be taking his place. Yet Manning, co-founder and chairman of the Fairport, New York-based mutual fund shop, will not be alone at the top. In a return to pre-IPO form, Manning has created a new, five-person operating committee, which includes: Mikolaichik, age 44 (a four-year company veteran); Ebrahim Busheri, 50, director of investments (17 years with the company); Jeffrey Coons, 52, president (27 years with the company); Charles Stamey, 55, executive vice president and managing director of sales (22 years with the company); and Richard Yates, 50, chief legal officer (15 years with the company).

Under the new leadership structure, Manning himself will be "really keeping his focus where he has been, around the strategic direction of the business," Mikolaichik says. Manning will be "a strategic compass" for the publicly-traded fund firm. Meanwhile, the operating committee will be "largely conducting all the day-to-day duties of the office of the CEO."

The new leadership structure is actually an old one for Manning & Napier.

"The operating committee is really a familiar structure for us, one we employed very successfully for about eight years leading into Patrick [Cunningham] being named CEO [in 2010] in preparation for our IPO," Mikolaichik says. The operating committee idea, he adds, is something that the Manning & Napier executives "feel very comfortable with."

The last time around the operating committee included three familiar faces (Coons, Cunningham, and Stamey) and two others (Reuben Auspitz and Jeffrey Herrmann).

Mikolaichik says that the new operating committee structure is "not defined in terms of a real time limit."

"I don't think it's seen as a forever program, but it certainly can carry us through the near- and medium-term," Mikolaichik says. "We did not want to put time boundaries on this."

"This structure gave us an easier mode of transition" from Cunningham running the company, Mikolaichik adds. "From an operational standpoint, it's a lot of business as usual."

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