BlackRock replaces Americas corporate governance leader

A sign for BlackRock Inc hangs above their building in New York U.S., July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

BOSTON (Reuters) - Top asset manager BlackRock Inc BLK.N has hired Ray Cameron as head of the Americas within its investment stewardship arm, according to a memo seen by Reuters on Thursday, turning to an outsider to fill the role left vacant since last year.

Cameron joins BlackRock from Stifel Financial Corp SF.N and "has a history of building successful teams that interact" with top corporate executives, according to the memo.

With $6.29 trillion in assets under management, BlackRock is often the largest shareholder in U.S. corporations, giving it a powerful voice on their operations and board makeup.

In a letter at the start of this year, BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink called for more communications between shareholders and companies they own, and promised “deeper, more frequent and more productive conversations.”

Cameron is taking on a job that has been vacant since Zach Oleksiuk left BlackRock last October. He will report to Michelle Edkins, a managing director of the firm, according to a BlackRock spokesman.

Reporting by Ross Kerber in Boston; Editing by Marguerita Choy