In an effort to establish a greater level of board independence, the trustees of the Putnam Funds of Boston last week passed over George Putnam III for the chairmanship and instead named John A. Hill chairman, said Laura McNamara, a company spokesperson.

Hill has no affiliation with the funds' investment manager, she said. The board named Putnam III president of the funds. He has served on the board of trustees since 1984.

Both positions were left open when George Putnam retired June 30 as chairman of the trustees and president of the funds.

George Putnam III is president of New Generation Research, a publisher of financial advisory and research services, and New Generation Advisers, an investment adviser to private funds. Both firms are based in Boston.

Hill is the vice-chairman and managing director of First Reserve Corporation of Denver, an investment advisor that invests in energy-related companies for institutional investors.

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