Paul McCulley is leaving Pacific Investment Management Co. less than a year after rejoining the firm, a departure that further diminishes the influence of co-founder Bill Gross at the $1.68 trillion money manager.
McCulley is stepping down from his role as a managing director and the chief economist, a position he said he accepted last year to work side-by-side with Gross. His last day at the Newport Beach, California-based firm will be Feb. 28.
“My mission here is complete,” he said in a statement. “I will continue doing the things I love in other spaces, possibly in the academic arena. PIMCO will always be Camelot in my heart.”
McCulley’s exit further reduces the ranks of Gross loyalists in the wake of his abrupt departure Sept. 26 to manage a small fund at Janus Capital Group Inc. PIMCO’s new management and investment team are seeking to reassure clients after a year of record redemptions and co-chief investment officers Gross and Mohamed El-Erian left.
In the past year, the manager of the world’s biggest bond mutual fund has hired 28 senior professionals, including Gene Sperling, a former economic adviser to two U.S. presidents, and Nobel laureate Michael Spence as consultants on economic policy. Joachim Fels, former chief economist at Morgan Stanley, was named global economic adviser, the firm said last week.
Gross’s exit exacerbated already-record outflows, sparking more than $91.5 billion in client redemptions from the PIMCO Total Return Fund, the firm’s biggest fund that Gross oversaw until the day he left.
Since then, PIMCO has lost other managing directors, with the departure of Saumil Parikh, and as John M. Miller, Brian Baker, and Suhail Dada retire.
McCulley, who appeared at the Tiger 21 group’s conference this week on behalf of PIMCO, first joined the firm in 1990 as an account manager. He left two years later for UBS Warburg, where he served as chief economist for the Americas. He returned to PIMCO in 1999 as a portfolio manager and also served as head of the firm’s short-term desk.
In the late 1990s, McCulley was named several times as a member of the Institutional Investor All-America Fixed Income Research Team. He has an undergraduate degree from Grinnell College in Iowa and a master’s in business administration from Columbia University in New York.