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BlackRock says global active equities chief Wiseman to leave firm

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed
Mark Wiseman, Global Head of Active Equities and Chairman of BlackRock Alternative Investors at BlackRock LLC, speaks during the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit in New York

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

(Reuters) - Mark Wiseman, global head of active equities at BlackRock Inc <BLK.N>, is leaving the firm following a violation of the company's "relationships at work policy," the world's largest asset manager said in an internal memo on Thursday.

Wiseman, one of several people tipped as BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink's possible successors, is a former Canadian pension manager who ran active equities and served as chairman of BlackRock's alternatives unit.

"When the firm becomes aware of a breach of policy or conduct that is not in line with our values, we move quickly and decisively to address it," CEO Fink and BlackRock President Rob Kapito said in the memo, which was reviewed by Reuters.

In a separate memo to employees, Wiseman said, "I am leaving BlackRock because in recent months I engaged in a consensual relationship with one of our colleagues without reporting it as required by BlackRock’s Relationships at Work Policy. I regret my mistake and I accept responsibility for my actions."

Wiseman's conduct had no impact on any portfolios or client activities, the first memo said. The leaders of the active equity teams who previously reported to Wiseman will report to Kapito, the company said.

Wiseman's is the second BlackRock senior executive departure this year due to lapses in personal conduct. Jeff Smith, head of the human resources group at BlackRock left the firm in July because "he failed to adhere to company policy," BlackRock said at the time.

BlackRock declined to comment beyond the contents of the memo. The news was earlier reported by the Financial Times on Thursday.

BlackRock shares, up about 24% this year, were 0.6% higher at $486.47 in morning trade on Thursday.


(Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed in New York and C Nivedita in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Steve Orlofsky)