Thomas J. Fontaine, head of defined contribution investments at AllianceBernstein, is leaving the firm's boardroom for the classroom at the end of the month, according to a spokesperson for the firm.

The spokesman said Fontaine, who has a PhD in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania, is leaving because “he always thought he wanted to teach and felt it was the right time to go back.”

In his stead, Seth Masters, chief investment officer of asset allocation at the firm, and other members of the leadership team, will take on Fontaine’s former responsibilities, according to the spokesman.

Fointaine started his career at the firm in 1999 as a quant analyst and ascended to his current position in April 2009. He leaves behind a strong legacy in target-date funds as evidence from the firm’s latest quarterly report, which revealed $18 billion in target-date fund assets as of March 31, up from $10 billion at the end of 2010 and $5 billion at the end of 2008.

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