Feb. 28, 2003 — Lord Abbett money manager Stephen McGruder will retire at the end of September, stepping down as head of the team that runs Lord Abbett Developing Growth Fund/A (LAGWX).

McGruder, who joined the team in May, 1995, will be replaced as leader of the $1-billion fund by F. Thomas O’Halloran, who has helped oversee the portfolio for two years. The change becomes effective tomorrow.

O’Halloran said that the fund’s investment process will not change. It will continue to focus on companies whose sales and earnings are growing, and that have strong balance sheets.

The fund, which is closed to new investors, lost 4.7% on average, for the five years ended in January, while its peer small-cap growth funds dropped 2.7%. Through January, the fund was off 3.5%, while its peers were down 2.4%.

Lord Abbett Developing Growth carries a 2-Star rank from Standard & Poor’s.