BlackRock reshuffles its top team to increase its clout against critics

BlackRock has appointed a new chief financial officer as part of a restructuring that will enable the world’s largest wealth manager to stand up to criticism and nurture younger leaders.

Founder Larry Fink will retain control of BlackRock but will strengthen his team with several new vice chairs who will focus on public relations. In recent months, the group has come under fire from both the right and the left for its huge holdings in all major US companies and its approach to environmental, social and governance investments.

Martin Small will replace Gary Shedlin, the outgoing chief financial officer and former investment banker at Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, starting next year. As vice chairman, Shedlin will continue to work with strategic clients, particularly other financial institutions. Mark McCombe, who is leading the fight against Texas plans to call BlackRock “hostile” to fossil fuels, will focus on “broader engagement” all day. . . with a broader range of stakeholders,” Fink and Rob Kapito, presidents, wrote in a Monday memo to employees.

The $8.5 trillion wealth manager said its ESG initiatives serve client needs and that it also invests to help high-carbon industries go green. On Monday, the group renamed its sustainable investing unit to Sustainable and Transition Solutions. Jessica Tan, previously Head of Corporate Strategy, will take over and report to Philipp Hildebrand, another Deputy Chairman.

“Sustainability is one of the key growth opportunities for the company and these changes will allow us to continue reaping the benefits of our BlackRock platform,” Hildebrand wrote in a further statement.

The reorganization also expanded the portfolio of Mark Wiedman, who is considered one of a few possible successors to Fink. Already Head of International, he is taking over from McCombe’s old responsibilities as Head of US and Canada, making him Head of a new Global Clients business.

Fink and Kapito wrote that the new entity has two goals: “First is to deliver the company locally to customers around the world to build our brand. . . The second is to listen and bring back insight and opportunity.”

The reorganization did not affect the responsibilities of three other executives believed to be potential heirs, Rob Goldstein, Rich Kushel and Manish Mehta, but a half-dozen younger executives are moving into larger roles.

“We regularly develop our management team to place leaders in new roles across the business. It enhances their understanding of BlackRock and helps us better anticipate the future needs of our customers,” Fink and Kapito wrote.

Most importantly, Small’s promotion will add to his experience – he will oversee Wiedman’s corporate strategy – and place him in the very senior management roster.

Small joined BlackRock as an attorney in 2006 and most recently ran its US wealth advisory business. BlackRock reshuffles its top team to increase its clout against critics

Adam Bradshaw

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