Blaisdell Shakes Up the Salient Leadership Team
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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Blaisdell Shakes Up the Salient Leadership Team

A $14-billion AUM Texan alternative asset manager with a mutual fund business is undergoing a multi-part leadership transformation.

John Blaisdell
Salient Partners
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
On October 18 Salient Partners' [profile] deputy chief investment officer, Rusty Guinn (age 34), rose to the newly created position of executive vice president of asset management at the Houston-based shop, CEO John Blaisdell (age 56) confirms. On the same day Ben Hunt (age 52), Salient's chief risk officer, was also promoted into a newly created position, chief investment strategist. Meanwhile, chief investment officer Lee Partridge (age 49) will shift into an advisory role through early 2017, and MFWire has learned that Partidge will step down as CIO on October 31.

As part of the leadership restructuring, MFWire has learned, Blaisdell will not appoint a new CIO to fill Partridge's shoes. Instead of reporting to a centralized CIO, Salient's lead PMs will, per a statement from the company, "continue to have full discretion over their specific area of investing, fund management, and team composition." And on the risk management side, a newly formed risk committee (which will include the former CRO, Hunt) will report directly to Salient's board.

"In their new roles, Rusty and Ben will focus on providing critical business, operational and investment strategy support," Blaisdell states.

Salient's statement notes that Guinn managed the integration of Forward Management investment teams last year when Salient bought Forward. Now Guinn's oversight includes Salient's "investments, products and strategy."

Guinn and Hunt put their new roles into the context of what they describe as Salient's mission for investors facing a trying future.

"Every strategy on our platform is built on a common set of core beliefs about the future facing investors," Guinn states. "Low growth, low returns and the dual risks of inflation and deflation demand measured experience. Our goal is to foster an environment where our deeply experienced portfolio managers can deliver unique and compelling investment solutions."

"We are witnessing a fundamental shift in the market's relationship to society and politics, as well as a sea change in the behavior of market participants," Hunt states. "Salient provides unique perspectives and investment strategies to help navigate a policy-dominated and low-growth investment world."

As for Partridge and his shift, he emphasizes Salient's efforts to create "a diversified investment platform."

"I look forward to observing Salient's future success and will remain a close friend of the firm," Partridge states.

Partridge, an alumnus of the University of Houston and of Rice Business, first joined Salient in November 2010 when Salient bought Integrity Capital, where he was CEO. He previously worked at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, U.S. Central, and AmVestors.

Guinn, an alumnus of UPenn, joined Salient in March 2013. Prior to that he also worked at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (though after Partridge left TRS), as well as with Credit Suisse's Asset Management Finance affiliate and with De Guardiola Advisors.

Hunt, an alumnus of both Vanderbilt and Harvard, joined Salient in November 2013. Prior to that he spent ten years teaching political science at NYU and Southern Methodist University, and he was a PM at TIG Procella Fund and Iridian Asset Management. He also writes the Epsilon Theory newsletter.

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