* Kraus has left intact most of firms' top management
* John Howard was CFO at AQR Capital Management
BOSTON, March 22 (Reuters) - AllianceBernstein Holding LP (AB.N) said on Monday it has selected an outsider to replace its retiring chief financial officer, marking one of the first marquee hires by the money manager's top executive after just more than a year on the job.
New York-based AllianceBernstein named as CFO John Howard, who previously had the same job at privately held hedge fund firm AQR Capital Management.
The move is an early high-level executive appointment by Peter Kraus, a former co-CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and a former Merrill Lynch & Co executive who took over as AllianceBernstein's chief executive and chairman at the end of 2008.
Howard, 40, also was named senior vice president. He will replace AllianceBernstein's current CFO, Robert Joseph, 62, who is retiring.
Kraus, who came in after Lew Sanders abruptly left the company, has so far largely left the upper ranks of AllianceBernstein alone. He has kept in place executives including Chief Operating Officer David Steyn and General Counsel Laurence Cranch.
Howard will take his new post immediately and report to Steyn, AllianceBernstein said in a statement. Joseph, who had been CFO since 1994, will remain as a senior adviser to the firm until the end of 2010.
In a statement Kraus praised Joseph's work including the merger that created the firm as it stands today, when the management firm then called Alliance Capital Management paid $3.5 billion to buy what had been the research company Sanford C. Bernstein Inc.
AllianceBernstein had about $484 billion under management as of Feb. 28. (Reporting by Ross Kerber, editing by Matthew Lewis)