NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)–Jeffrey A. Geller joined Frank Russell Co.’s New York office this week for a newly created senior level position focusing on alternative investments.

Recently, Mr. Geller was president for Commonfund Asset Management Inc., Wilton, Conn., where he had oversight responsibilities for all marketable investment products. Todd Petzel, who took over the position of president at Mr. Geller’s departure, will leave Jan. 1, and Lyn Hutton, currently chief investment officer, will take on the position of president at the firm, according to a Commonfund source.

Many personnel changes have taken place at Commonfund recently. Ms. Hutton was named chief investment officer at the Commonfund in October to replace Mr. Petzel, who had been bumped up to the role of president. (Previous HedgeWorld Story) Mr. Petzel’s upcoming departure was only announced at the end of July. At the time, it was announced that the then chief investment officer was leaving to start his own hedge fund firm called Azimuth Capital.

Before that Jeff Landle, Commonfund’s senior vice president of alternative investments announced he would be leaving to take a senior post at HypoVereinsbank’s hedge fund group. Mr. Petzel had been leading the search to replace Mr. Landle.

“Jeff (Geller) brings extensive experience managing hedge fund strategies, especially in the relative value arbitrage area,” Randall P. Lert, Russell’s chief investment officer, said in a statement. “His depth of knowledge and exposure to all the major asset classes will be a great asset to Russell as we expand our hedge fund capabilities.”

The hiring of a senior level director, particularly at a time when many firms are retrenching amid the effects of a bear market, is part of Russell’s deepening commitment to serve institutional clients with multi-manager solutions for their alternative investment need, Mr. Lert said in the Russell announcement.

Frank Russell Co. manages US$70 billion in assets and advises clients worldwide representing US$1.8 trillion. Founded in 1936, Russell is a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual and is headquartered in Tacoma, Wash., with additional offices in New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Singapore, Sydney, Australia, Auckland, New Zealand and Tokyo.