BlackRock Inc. this week tapped a new managing director to take on the role of U.S. retail head of multi-asset client solutions and also announced changes to its board of directors. Also in new hires this week, Fairport Asset Management announced the appointment of a chief investment strategist, and wealth management firm Lenox Advisors brought on two Northwestern Mutual executives.

On April 12, BlackRock announced that Michael Fredericks has joined the company in a newly created position as managing director and U.S. retail head of BlackRock Multi-Asset Client Solutions. At Dec. 31, BMACS managed about $90 billion of client assets.

Fredericks will report to Michael Huebsch, managing director and head of BMACS, a 140-person team that develops and manages investment solutions involving multiple strategies and asset classes. Fredericks will work in collaboration with the firm's U.S. retail distribution effort led by Frank Porcelli, head of the firm's U.S. retail business.

Fredericks joined BlackRock from J.P. Morgan Asset Management, where he served as a portfolio manager with the firm's Global Multi-Asset Group. He managed both tactical constrained and absolute return strategies and co-managed the JPMorgan Diversified Fund and the JPMorgan Income Builder Fund.

"Michael has the critical combination of being an experienced multi-asset class portfolio manager with retail know-how to drive what is a tremendous growth opportunity for our firm. He is extremely well regarded in the retail sector,” Huebsch said in a statement.

On April 7, the New York-based asset management company announced that Thomas Montag, president of Global Banking and Markets at Bank of America, has joined BlackRock’s board of directors. Concurrent with Montag's appointment, two other Bank of America executives, Sallie Krawcheck and Mark Linsz, have left the board.

Krawcheck (left) is Bank of America’s president of Global Wealth & Investment Management and Linsz is corporate treasurer. Both joined BlackRock's board in 2009. The board has 18 members, 11 of whom are unaffiliated with BlackRock.

“BlackRock has made tremendous progress in expanding our well-established business within Bank of America's Global Wealth & Investment Management business and that mutual commitment steadfastly remains,” said BlackRock Chairman and CEO Laurence Fink in a statement. “At the same time, Bank of America's reduced ownership position in BlackRock has created greater trading flexibility between the two firms that will benefit BlackRock's clients.”

In other new-hire news, Cleveland-based Fairport Asset Management on March 29 announced the appointment of J.T. Mullen as chief investment strategist and chair of the investment committee.

Mullen previously served as senior vice president and chief financial officer of The Cleveland Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the country and an established presence in Northeast Ohio.  During Mullen’s 23-year tenure, the foundation’s endowment grew to $1.8 billion from $400 million.

“I have long admired Fairport and their impressive investment team,” said Mullen, who retired from the foundation in 2010. “I look forward to contributing to the strategic investment planning process as we collectively work to address the current and future needs of Fairport’s clients.”

Since 2001, Fairport has provided wealth management services to high net worth individuals, families and select institutions. The firm has specialized services for succession and liquidity planning for business owners, executives, and financial issues and education unique to women. 

 “J.T.’s talent, expertise and stellar reputation make him an ideal fit for the role of chair of the investment committee at Fairport,” said Heather Ettinger, co-managing partner, in a statement. “We are thrilled to have J.T. join us.”

Also, Lenox Advisors announced on April 7 that two Northwestern Mutual Financial Network advisors have joined the New York-based wealth management firm.

Paul Ferrante has joined Lenox as a senior vice president, and Jonathan Perry has joined as a vice president.

Ferranteis responsible for working with both individual and corporate clients, and he specializes in insurance and wealth management solutions as well as estate planning and employee benefits strategies. He spent 10 years with Northwestern Mutual, where he was a Forum member and ranked among the Top 20 financial representatives at the firm.

Perry is responsible for working with corporate and high net worth individual clients. He specializes in estate, insurance and wealth management strategies for individuals. He additionally works with corporate clients in structuring employee benefits strategies and executive carve-out programs. Prior to joining Lenox, he worked for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network for four years.