The money management unit of Wachovia Corporation, Evergreen Investments, announced Tuesday that its Chief Executive Dennis Ferro is set to retire at the end of this year. Ferro has been with the firm for five years and confirms that the status of the market and of Evergreen, in general, has had no impact on his retirement, which has been in the talks for over a year. Succeeding him will be Peter Cieszko, who is currently head of global distribution and has been with Evergreen since July 2006.
In addition, David Germany has been appointed chief investment officer (CIO) of Evergreen Investments. Germany is highly experienced as he comes from Morgan Stanley Investment Management, where he was global head and chief investment officer of fixed income. Prior to that, Germany was an economist at the Federal Reserve. Ferro had been filling in as CIO since Chris Conkey abruptly left last August.
Over the past year, Evergreen has faced multiple financial issues, The Wall Street Journal reports. Wachovia had to purchase asset-backed securities to aid the firm, costing it $40 million. Furthermore, the bond fund Evergreen Ultra Short Opportunities Fund was liquidated last month as the credit crisis continued to affect the company. In addition, Wachovia has had its own top-level issues as it continues to have huge losses and document write-offs. These issues prompted the firing of the banks chief executive G. Kennedy Thompson last month.
Investors have also redeemed $10 billion of their holdings in Evergreen mutual funds since the start of last year. Cieszko said the reason for this is Wachovias wealth management usage of non-Evergreen funds, since Evergreen funds are not deemed top class. Cieszko plans to change this, in addition to continuing Ferros aggressive strategy for aggressive growth in assets at Evergreen.