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BlackRock terminates another senior exec for company policy violations

BlackRock’s Mark Wiseman, once seen as among the frontrunners to succeed CEO Larry Fink, was terminated following a violation of company relationships at work policy, the firm said Thursday.

Wiseman, global head of active equities, was in a group of about seven contenders widely thought to be in the running to replace Fink. He joined BlackRock in 2016, after serving as chief executive of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. His wife, Marcia Moffat, is BlackRock’s Canada country head.

Mark Wiseman, former global head of active equities at BlackRock, said that he failed to disclose a consensual relationship with a colleague.
Mark Wiseman, former global head of active equities at BlackRock, said that he failed to disclose a consensual relationship with a colleague.

It’s the second senior departure in a matter of months over company policy violations at BlackRock. Jeff Smith, the firm’s former global head of human resources, left the world’s largest asset manager after failing to adhere to company policy, Fink and President Rob Kapito announced in a memo in July, without giving more details.

“This is not who BlackRock is,” Fink and Kapito wrote in the memo on Wiseman. “This is not our culture. We expect every employee to uphold the highest standards of behavior. This is especially critical for our senior leaders.”

BlackRock is being roiled as companies worldwide are facing increased scrutiny over the behavior of top executives. The #metoo era ushered in by the allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein helped create a zero-tolerance policy for behavior that would have remained hush-hush in the past — or handled internally.

The issue with Wiseman had no impact on any portfolios or client activities, Fink and Kapito said in the memo to employees Thursday. The active equities business that Wiseman oversaw had about $290 billion in assets at the end of June.

The alternatives business he managed was part of a big push for BlackRock, which has nearly $7 trillion in assets under management.

In a separate memo, Wiseman said that he failed to disclose a consensual relationship with a colleague.

“I regret my mistake and I accept responsibility,” he said.

Bloomberg News