NEW YORK Bill Gross, co-founder and co-chief investment officer of bond giant Pimco, said the firm plans to appoint more deputy investment managers in the coming weeks after the departure of Chief Executive Mohamed El-Erian, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
"I intend there to be a number of heirs apparent and for each of them to have assigned asset roles on a global basis with a global menu," Gross told Bloomberg.
Pimco said on Tuesday that El-Erian, who is also co-chief investment officer, will leave in mid-March. Gross will be left as the sole chief investment officer.
Pimco on Tuesday said that managing directors Andrew Balls and Daniel Ivascyn will be deputy chief investment officers, a move that will position them for a possible promotion to the CIO spot when Gross, 69, retires.
Gross told Bloomberg on Wednesday that he intended to appoint investment professionals for equities, global bonds and other asset classes to leadership roles. "We're not just bond people anymore," he said.
Pimco was not immediately available for comment.
Pacific Investment Management Co., a unit of European financial services company Allianz SE (ALVG.DE), had $1.97 trillion in assets as of September 30, according to the firm's website.
Pimco is known mainly for its bond expertise. Gross manages the flagship Total Return Fund, the world's largest bond fund with $237 billion in assets.
Gross told Bloomberg that he was shocked when El-Erian told him several weeks ago that he wanted to leave the Newport Beach, California-based firm, and said that he and the firm's executive committee tried to convince El-Erian to stay.
El-Erian told Gross that he wanted to leave to "recharge the batteries," write a second book and spend more time with his family, Bloomberg reported.
El-Erian had first joined Pimco in 1999, after leaving the International Monetary Fund, where he was a deputy director. In 2006, he left Pimco to run Harvard University's investment arm, before rejoining Pimco in late 2007.
Pimco said Tuesday that its chief operating officer, Douglas Hodge, will replace El-Erian as chief executive.
(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Leslie Adler)