PIMCO's Kashkari to leave firm, mulls entering Calif. politics

NEW YORK Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:24pm EST

NEW YORK Jan 23 (Reuters) - Neel Kashkari, managing director and head of global equities at bond giant PIMCO, is leaving the firm to consider running for public office in California as a Republican, according to people familiar with the situation.

Kashkari, a former Goldman Sachs banker who oversaw the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program while at the U.S. Treasury, joined PIMCO in December 2009 to lead the firm's new investment initiatives.

One such initiative was PIMCO's expansion into equities. Pacific Investment Management Co., based in Newport Beach, California, launched its first actively managed stock mutual fund in 2010.

When Kashkari joined PIMCO in late 2009, the firm had $940 billion in assets, mostly in fixed income. Assets have more than doubled since then to $1.92 trillion as of Sept. 20, 2012.

The firm, a unit of European insurer Allianz, is run by Bill Gross, founder and co-chief investment officer, and Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive and co-chief investment officer.

Kashkari received bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's in business administration MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, according to PIMCO's website.

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