Bill Miller to Step Down From Legg Mason Value Trust

Co-manager Sam Peters will take full control in April 2012

Bill Miller (left) with Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo, in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2010. (Photo: AP) Bill Miller (left) with Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo, in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2010. (Photo: AP)

Legendary value manager Bill Miller, who beat the S&P 500 for 15 years straight before underperforming for four of the last five years, will step down from running the Legg Mason Capital Management Value Trust fund in April.

Sam Peters, who was said to be Miller’s heir apparent when he was promoted to co-manager of the fund last year, will become the sole manager of the $2.8 billion fund as well as chief investment officer for Legg Mason Capital Management as a whole, the Baltimore-based company said in a statement released Thursday.

The company also said Miller will remain chairman of Legg Mason Capital Management.

"We have had a long and thoughtful transition process going back more than six Years,” Miller said in the statement. “We recognized Sam as a potential portfolio manager for Value Trust when we hired him in 2005, and then observed his steady hand during the 2008 financial crisis, and last year named him co-manager of Value Trust for the purpose of succeeding me as sole manager.”

Miller’s storied run of outperformance ended with the onset of the financial crisis, heralding a spectacular fall after heavy, but ultimately ill-timed, value investments were made in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and major financial firms at the center of the storm that never fully recovered.

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