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An internal memo obtained by several major media outlets today revealed that BlackRock Inc. is undergoing its largest organizational restructuring in a decade.
The overhaul includes new leaders in BlackRock’s alternatives investment division — which is seen as an area of growth for the New York-based firm as it seeks to diversify its business — changing roles for about two dozen directors, a reorganization of sales teams, and new positions for two people considered to be possible successors to Chairman and CEO Larry Fink when he retires.
Mark McCombe, currently Senior Managing Director and Head of the Americas region, will take on a new role as chief client officer, while Mark Wiedman, another Senior Managing Director who earlier this year also became the Head of International and Corporate strategy, will also lead the company’s Latin America division, according to BloombergQuint.
“Today we are making a number of changes designed to ensure we stay ahead of our clients’ and society’s needs,” the memo, written by Fink and BlackRock President Rob Kapito, states, according to the news outlet.
The organizational changes outlined in the memo are in line with BlackRock’s culture of frequently shifting staff roles, a source told the Wall Street Journal. That shuffling includes top roles held by the half-dozen contenders to replace Fink when the 66-year-old executive retires.
At the same time, the world’s largest money manager has been coping with market volatility affecting its bottom line. On January 10, BlackRock announced plans to lay off 500 employees (or roughly 3% of its 14,000 workforce). Seven days later, it reported that its assets fell $468 billion in the final quarter of 2018, marking the largest such decline since September 2011. Two-thirds of the company’s approximately $6 trillion of assets in management are indexed products, BloombergQuint notes.
The company is looking to bolster its alternatives business — including investments in energy pipelines, non-traditional assets, and loans — as it seeks to expand beyond asset management. In February, BlackRock purchased eFront, an end-to-end alternatives investment management software provider, for $1.3 billion in cash.
In the memo, Fink and Kapito note that changes in the markets “represent the biggest opportunity in a decade to differentiate BlackRock — but only if we are willing to be bold and decisive,” the Journal reports.
On April 1, BlackRock announced that it raised $2.75 billion for its Long-Term Private Capital fund fund, although it is still short of the $10 billion to $12 billion total it seeks. In February, it also partnered with private equity company KKR to make a $4 billion investment in the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for midstream pipeline infrastructure.
Ambreen Ali is a freelance writer and editor based in the New York City area who specializes in business and technology. She has 15 years of reporting experience, including covering Capitol Hill and reporting from South Asia.