PIMCO has hired Neel Kashkari, the head of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program up until May, as a managing director and head of new investment initiatives, in charge of developing actively managed stock funds. Before that, Kashkari was a vice president at Goldman Sachs, where he led the firm’s information technology security investment banking practice. Previously, he was an aerospace engineer at TRW Corp., where he developed technology for NASA science missions.

Supporting Kashkari in developing “deep value” equity products will be Anne Gudefin and Charles Lahr, who will join PIMCO as executive vice presidents and global equities portfolio managers. Both were formerly co-managers of the Franklin Mutual Global Discovery Fund. Earlier in her career, Gudefin was a research analyst covering European equities at Perry Capital. Earlier in his career, Lahr was an international equities research analyst with the State of Wisconsin Investment Board.

“Extending PIMCO’s investment activities into active equities, and thus, across the capital structure, is a logical and natural extension of the firm’s successful investment process,” said Bill Gross, PIMCO founder and co-CIO. “Neel, Anne and Chuck are exceptional professionals and individuals, and we are delighted to have them on board as we continue PIMCO’s multi-year evolution as a complete provider of global investment solutions.”

Co-CIO and CEO Mohamed El-Erian said PIMCO had been planning to offer stock funds for more than a year but put the plan on hold due to the financial crisis. In the past two years, PIMCO has attracted money from investors bailing out of stocks, and the move into equity funds is seen by many as a strategy to retain those assets as the economy improves.

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