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Executive Moves - Putnam, Strong Replace CEO, Chairman

Putnam, Strong Replace CEO, Chairman in Probe

Larry Lasser, the 18-year CEO of Putnam Investments, who has just resigned, has been replaced by Charles "Ed" Haldeman, now CEO and president. A.J.C. "Ian" Smith becomes chairman. The decision came as a result of an emergency board meeting held on the eve of expected charges against the CEO for allowing portfolio managers to market time their own accounts.

Meanwhile, Richard Strong, who is also expected to face charges, potentially criminal, resigned as chairman of Strong Funds last week. However, Strong will remain chairman and chief executive of the fund complex's parent company, Strong Capital Management.

Strong's independent directors are searching for an independent president to replace Strong and to cooperate with David Ruder, a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission who is serving as counsel to the firm. The new president will not report to Strong but to the independent directors.

Putnam's parent company, Marsh & McClennan, has retained the services of former SEC fund regulator Barry Barbash, now a partner with Shearman & Sterling.

Scandal Breaks up C-Suite At Alliance Capital Mgmt.

John D. Carifa, president, chief operating officer and director of Alliance Capital, was forced to resign by the company's board of directors last Monday because of market-timing practices that occurred on his watch. Also resigning was Michael J. Laughlin, the firm's mutual fund distribution unit chairman.

Alliance Chief Executive Officer Lewis A. Sanders said the resignations were necessary "despite their considerable contributions to the firm over many years." Because the two men had "both senior and direct responsibility over the firm's mutual fund unit," Sanders said the board decided to ask for their resignations.

Gerald Lieberman, who worked for Bernstein since 1999 prior to its merger with Alliance, will replace Carifa as COO. Taking over as the mutual fund business chairman will be Marc O. Mayer, another former Bernstein employee who is currently the head of Alliance's institutional investment management sales and marketing unit. With these two men taking the posts, two of the three top executives at Alliance are former Bernstein employees.

Alliance has already fired fund manager Gerald Malone and marketing executive Charles Schaffran for their part in market timing. Both are expected to be charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Wilmington Trust Starts Team for $25M Customers

Wilmington Trust's wealth advisory services unit has announced the creation of a group to serve individuals and families with investable assets of at least $25 million.

Robert Balentine, regional president of Wilmington Trust's Atlanta office, is to head the wealth strategies team, which consists of 12 Wilmington Trust professionals. In August, Wilmington Trust created a team headed by experts from its Delaware headquarters and its Balentine investment counseling firm to develop investment strategies for controlling risk and enhancing wealth.

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