Mutual Series Realigns Following Resignation of Chairman, Two Senior Managers

Mutual Series, a subsidiary of Franklin Templeton Investments, announced a shake-up yesterday in its management following the resignations of two senior portfolio managers and Michael Price, the chairman and director of Franklin Mutual Advisers and the Mutual Series fund boards.

Price, Raymond Garea, senior VP and manager of the Mutual Financial Services Fund and Robert Friedman, senior VP and manager of the Mutual European Fund, have all decided to leave the firm, according to the announcement. 'These guys have all been with the group for a long time,' said Lisa Gallegos, a company spokesperson. 'If you look at the years they've spent at Mutual Series its pretty normal to think they'd want to do something different.'

Garea and Friedman decided not to renew their contracts, which expire at the end of September and Price will leave the firm at the end of October. Peter Langerman, the firm's CEO will assume Price's duties, according to the company.

David Winters, senior VP and director of research has been promoted to president and chief investment officer, a position that has remained vacant since April 2000 when Friedman voluntarily stepped down from that position, according to Gallegos. Friedman was named CIO in 1998, but stepped down after the firm formed a portfolio management committee, she said. 'It was something that he wanted to do,' Gallegos said. 'It just made sense to have (a portfolio management committee) as opposed to a CIO and he wanted to focus a little more time on the fund.'

Garea is planning to start his own hedge fund, according to Gallegos, but said she didn't know what Price and Friedman had planned.

The firm also announced several promotions and new hires. Larry Sondike, a senior VP with Franklin Mutual Advisers and manager of the Mutual Shares Fund and co-manager of the Mutual Beacon Fund, will transition out of portfolio management and begin developing alternative investment products for the company. Susan Potto and Jeff Diamond were promoted to co-portfolio managers of the Mutual Qualified Fund and Diamond was named assistant manager of the Mutual Financial Services Fund.

The firm hired Matthew Haynes to co-manage the Mutual Beacon Fund in addition to Michael Embler, a bankruptcy and distressed securities specialist and John Wimsatt, a financial institutions analyst.

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