(Adds background about succession planning at WL Ross, details)
NEW YORK, March 25 WL Ross & Co named Stephen Toy and Greg Stoeckle as senior managing directors and co-leaders of the private equity firm on Tuesday, as billionaire investor Wilbur Ross moved to put a succession plan in place at the firm he founded in 2000.
Ross, 76, will now be chairman and chief strategy officer. He was previously also chief executive, but it was not immediately clear if Toy and Stoeckle would take on that title.
WL Ross, which is a unit of asset manager Invesco Ltd , said the changes would be effective May 1.
Toy has been with WL Ross since its inception and is chairman of its investment committee. Stoeckle joins the firm from Invesco, where he had been president and managing director of the bank loan business.
Ross could not be reached immediately for comment. An Invesco spokesman directed all questions toward Ross.
In a statement, Ross said the move was part of the firm's evolution in recent years "toward second generation management."
"I will now have more time to devote to developing and implementing the macro strategies that always have been central to our portfolio decisions," Ross said.
A former Rothschild Inc banker, Ross made his name in the world of distressed investing, He has faced questions in recent years about succession planning at his firm.
In 2012, Bloomberg reported that Ross fell far short of his target for a new private equity fund in part because investors raised questions about his succession plans.
Ross is not alone to face such a dilemma in the world of private equity. Many firms were founded by investors who have come to embody their organizations but are now aging, bringing succession planning under increased scrutiny.
Carlyle Group LP, for example, poached senior JPMorgan Chase & Co executive Michael Cavanagh on Tuesday, naming him co-president and co-chief operating officer as it puts its own succession plan in place.