The announcement this week that Marsh & McLennan Chairman and CEO Jeffrey W. Greenberg had resigned touched off conflicting feelings of relief and sadness for the firm’s mutual fund unit, Putnam Investments, The Boston Globe reports.

Obviously, the relief stemmed from the fact that both parent and child company have come under intense scrutiny in separate scandals over the past year, and Greenberg’s ouster at least temporarily tempered some of that. But the sadness comes from Putnam’s belief that Greenberg was its top ally among Marsh executives, and now that he is gone, there is some concern about how the two companies’ relationship will continue.

"It would appear that Jeff Greenberg was a champion of Putnam, and put a lot of his own personal stature on the line when Putnam ran into trouble," industry guru Geoffrey Bobroff said.

Since Greenberg is being replaced with Michael G. Cherkasky, not known in many financial services industry circles, there is some uncertainty at Putnam as to what its relationship with its parent company will be. Although Cherkasky has already offered a vote of confidence for Putnam CEO Ed Haldeman, he has also talked about "significant reforms" that still need to be made across all Marsh & McLennan ventures.

Still, only time will say whether Putnam picks up in the one area that it direly needs to: earnings. That, and whether the firm’s former positive image can be fully restored, is all investors are concerned with.

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