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Two Key Execs Leave American Century

American Century of Kansas City, Mo., lost Randall Merk, its investment chief, earlier this month, and now its head of U.S. growth equities, C. Kim Goodwin, has flown the coop [see "Executive Moves," page 4].

The company says the departure of the two has nothing to do with their performance or any problems at the fund firm.

Goodwin is to become chief investment officer for equities at State Street Research & Management in Boston. Of the $77 billion of assets American Century manages, Goodwin's division accounted for about 50% of that.

Her Growth Fund, an aggressive, large-cap growth vehicle with heavy tech and health-care holdings, was down 22.6% through July, according to Morningstar. That's not out of line with similar funds.

Merk will soon become president of Charles Schwab Investment Management in San Francisco.

Although neither Merk nor Goodwin could be reached for comment, American Century spokeswoman Laura Kouri said the departures were due to a combination of personal reasons by Merk and Goodwin and attractive offers from their pursuers.

However, some in the industry question the moves. "It does raise questions in terms of them losing key personnel," said Dan Mathews, a financial planner in Overland Park, Kan.

American Century's remaining Growth Fund team now consists of Greg Woodhams and Prescott LeGard, both co-managers. As for the company's overall investment chain of command, three chief investment officers now report to Puff: Dave MacEwen, fixed income; Henrik Strabo, international equities; and Mark Mallon, value and quantitative equities.