Manny Roman appointed CEO at Man

People Moves
10 Dec, 2012

Peter Clarke, CEO at Man Group, is to retire paving the way for Manny Roman, president and COO, to take over at the helms in what has been a tumultuous two years for the world’s largest publicly listed hedge fund.

Clarke will step down on February 28, 2013 and will help Roman with the transition, the firm said in  a statement. The last two years have proven difficult for Man GLG. Its AuM fell from its $71 billion peak in 2010 to $61 billion while it suffered a fifth straight month of client exits in October.

The company’s share price has fallen by half, and it was relegated from the FTSE 100 earlier in the year. Its flagship fund and main profit driver – AHL – has been dogged by underperformance. Shareholders had given Clarke time to turn around the firm although it is abundantly clear patience has since worn out.

One former GLG employee welcomed the changing of the guard. “I am surprised it took so long. Everybody knew Manny would end up as CEO when Man took over GLG. Earlier this year, he was made President and now the inevitable has happened. It is a great development, as we can see by the company’s share price rebounding,” he said.

Clarke did enjoy some success earlier in the year following Man’s acquisition of FRM, the $8 billion fund of funds, for $82.8 million contingent on the latter retaining assets.  Clarke also announced $200 million of cost cutting to the firm, although this was not enough to prevent his own departure.

Whether or not Roman’s elevation to the top yields much material change is open to debate given the secular decline the firm appears to be in. The ex-GLG employee is predictably bullish. “Manny will bring about a change of culture and will possibly increase risk levels thereby attracting more AuM. Man-GLG has in recent years moved away from being a performance led company, and instead has been very safe but simultaneously this has meant lower returns. This new mindset will help pay dividends for the company,” he said.

Jon Aisbitt, chairman at Man, and Roman, both paid tribute to Clarke, acknowledging the tough trading conditions. “During his tenure as CEO, Man has faced challenging trading conditions. Under his leadership the company has sought to diversify its portfolio of businesses while driving down costs to a sustainable level. Peter (Clarke) has put in place an excellent management team around him and has led this phase of the re-positioning of the business,” said Aisbitt.