July 11, 2014 / 3:20 PM / 4 years ago

Och-Ziff hires former U.S. SEC general counsel as chief legal officer

BOSTON, July 11 (Reuters) - Och-Ziff Capital Management , one of only a handful of publicly traded hedge fund firms, hired securities lawyer David Becker as its new chief legal and chief compliance officer to replace Jeff Blockinger, who will be leaving the firm.

Becker, 67, brings public and private sector experience to the position, joining Och-Ziff from law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton where he was a partner and having previously worked as General Counsel for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He starts the job on Monday.

“We are delighted to welcome an attorney of David’s caliber and experience to the Och-Ziff management team,” the firm said in a statement.

Och-Ziff invests $45.5 billion for wealthy clients including pension funds and foreign governments and is currently being probed by the SEC and Justice Department about investments some of its funds have made in Africa.

Blockinger, 44, will be staying on as a senior adviser at the firm where he has worked for 10 years. He expects to retire in June 2015. His departure is not related to the government’s investigation, a person familiar with the firm said.

“We thank Jeff for his significant contributions over the past decade and are pleased that he will remain with the Firm as an Executive Managing Director and Senior Legal Advisor through June 2015 to ensure a smooth transition,” the firm’s statement said.

During the first half of 2014, Och-Ziff’s funds have had a mixed performance with the OZ Master fund gaining 2.02 percent while the OZ Asia Master Fund lost 6.66 percent. The company’s stock price has lost 12 percent since January but has gained 17.69 percent over the last 52 weeks. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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