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BlackRock Taps U.S. Wealth Chief as Next CFO

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BlackRock Inc. appointed Martin Small, head of the firm’s U.S. wealth advisory business, as its next chief financial officer, succeeding Gary Shedlin in a wave of senior management changes.

Small, who joined BlackRock in 2006, has also served as head of the exchange-traded funds group in the U.S. and Canada and in leadership roles in the financial markets advisory unit, the New York-based company said in a statement Monday. The move is expected to take place on or about March 1.

Shedlin, who had been an outside financial adviser to the firm and later became its CFO, will transition to become a vice chairman, working with strategic clients.

The CFO shift was one of about a half-dozen leadership changes spanning human resources, relationships with top clients and the firm’s business of investing in sustainable assets.

The shakeup comes as the world’s biggest asset manager, which oversaw $8.5 trillion at midyear, faces backlash from Republican lawmakers over its advocacy of ESG investing and from environmental advocates who say the firm isn’t doing enough to combat climate change.

“It signals they are trying to expand the breadth and depth of their management team to develop younger talent for the future,” Edward Jones analyst Kyle Sanders said in an e-mail. “This is another step to position the company for the eventual retirement of long-tenured executives” including Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink and President Rob Kapito, Sanders said.

Fink, 69, and Kapito, 64, said in a memo to employees that the changes are meant to “grow leaders in new roles across the firm,” and keeps BlackRock “more tightly connected and stimulates fresh thinking.”

Also shifting responsibilities is Mark Wiedman, who will oversee US, Canadian and global clients, marketing as well as the firm’s regional businesses in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America, according to the memo. The group will form the company’s global client business group. Wiedman, 51, will report to Kapito.

“This group will aim to leverage BlackRock’s global strengths through the primarily regional orientation of our client businesses,” Fink and Kapito wrote. “This priority is especially urgent given the investment, geopolitical, and macroeconomic regime changes our clients face today.”

‘Deep Knowledge’

Wiedman will take over the client businesses currently overseen by Chief Client Officer Mark McCombe, who will become a vice chairman next year and focus on relationships throughout the US. Small will also oversee corporate strategy, a role currently held by Wiedman.

Small, 47, has been “working across a diverse mix of teams that give him a broad and deep knowledge of the firm and our people,” Fink said in the statement. “BlackRock and our shareholders will benefit from his broad understanding of the firm, sharp intellect and years of experience working with our clients in charting the path forward.”

Sanders said there are several senior BlackRock executives viewed as potential heirs to Fink, including Wiedman, Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldstein and Rich Kushel, head of the portfolio management group, among others.

“Perhaps by adding more responsibility to Wiedman’s plate, it could be a signal he is the leading candidate to run BlackRock once Larry steps away,” Sanders said.

Among other changes:

  • Caroline Heller will succeed Manish Mehta as global head of human resources;
  • Jaime Magyera and Joe DeVico will take over as co-heads of U.S. wealth advisory;
  • Jessica Tan will become global head of Sustainable and Transition Solutions (STS), a new group overseeing sustainable investing;
  • Chris Kaminker, deputy head of BlackRock Sustainable Investing, will become deputy head of STS and have an expanded role in the BlackRock Investment Institute; and
  • Paul Bodnar will lead policy and external engagement within STS

(Image: Bloomberg)

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