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BlackRock Dismisses Kranefuss From iShares Board

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Lee Kranefuss, an exchange-traded fund luminary, has been dismissed from the iShares board. According to parent company BlackRock, Inc., George Parker, Ph.D., of Stanford University Graduate School of Business, will replace Kranefuss as the chairman of the board of trustees of iShares Trust and the board of directors of iShares, Inc. The announcement is retroactively effective to April 30th. Kranefuss has served as an interested trustee/director and chairman of each board since 2003.

The announcement comes on the heels of disappointing first-quarter earnings for BlackRock. The company reported Monday, April 26, that earnings more than quadrupled in the first quarter but were weaker than expected as outflows exceeded inflows and customers shifted their money into less lucrative passive funds.

Laurence Fink, BlackRock’s chief executive, blamed the increase in outflows on clients changing their portfolios by moving into passive funds.

“Much of this has to do with the consternation of our clients,” said Fink at the time. “Some of our clients were derisking, while some were rebalancing.”

Additional changes to the boards include the election of Robert Kapito, president of BlackRock, and Michael Latham, managing director at BlackRock and head of U.S. iShares, to join each board. Latham has served as president of iShares Trust and iShares, Inc. since 2007.

“We are delighted to have George as chairman and welcome Rob as a member of the board as we look forward to their substantial contributions in guiding the iShares business in the years ahead,” said Latham in a statement. “We also sincerely thank Lee for his remarkable contributions and dedication in helping advance the iShares business to its leading industry position with over $500 billion in global assets under management in ten short years. Lee recognized early the prospects of ETFs and was instrumental in the growth of a business that has changed, and continues to change, the way individuals invest.”

“It has been a wonderful experience helping build iShares and serving our investors,” Kranefuss added. “I have enjoyed working with the new leadership to help them to continue to be well-positioned advocates for iShares ETFs as a mainstream investment for many investors. I look forward to seeing new iShares successes in the next ten years and beyond.”

Advisor Media Group Senior Editor Ron Pechtimaldjian contributed to this story.