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By Tommy Wilkes and Jennifer Ablan
LONDON/NEW YORK, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Pimco, which runs the world's largest bond fund under Bill Gross, has tapped Virginie Maisonneuve as global head of equities, succeeding Neel Kashkari, who left the firm earlier this year for a possible run for public office in California.
She joins Pimco from Schroders Plc where she most recently served as head of global and international equities and will be based in Pimco's London office, Pimco said in a news release on Wednesday. Her official start date is expected to be in January 2014.
Mohamed El-Erian, Pimco's chief executive officer and co-chief investment officer, said in a statement: "Virginie is a proven equity investor and leader who has delivered a track record of success for clients throughout her 25-year career as a portfolio manager and a business builder. We are delighted to have Virginie on board as part of our multi-year effort to deepen and expand the set of global investment solutions we provide to clients around the world."
Schroders said in a statement that Simon Webber, Maisonneuve's deputy, would become the lead portfolio manager for global and international equities while Peter Harrison, global head of equities, will take on management responsibility for the team.
A onetime investment banker at Goldman Sachs, Kashkari became an instant celebrity in October 2008 when he was tapped by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to run the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program for banks.
Kashkari joined PIMCO in 2009 to lead the firm's new investment initiatives and left Pimco this past February. One of the initiatives 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.
Pimco oversees $1.97 trillion in assets, most of which is in fixed income. Pimco's equity offerings span a range of strategies and styles, including the StocksPLUS suite of strategies, and its active long-short, dividend, emerging market and deep value equity strategies, totaling more than $50 billion in assets under management.
The firm, a unit of European insurer Allianz, is run by Gross, founder and co-chief investment officer, and El-Erian.