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Rating:Haldeman Evaluates His CEO Years at Putnam Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, June 12, 2008

Haldeman Evaluates His CEO Years at Putnam

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

Ed Haldeman, whose stint as Putnam Investments' CEO comes to a close next month, looked back on his years at the helm of the Boston-based firm during a conference call with reporters on Thursday morning. He talked about why he is relinquishing the CEO post and insisted that the move has nothing to do with an allegation put forward recently by a Putnam whistleblower that he had known about the market-timing activity that occurred years ago.

Ed Haldeman
Putnam Investments
President & CEO
Haldeman will become chairman of Putnam Investment Management LLC next month. His duties include senior client coverage, handling third-party relationships and helping with recruiting.

So why is he giving up the CEO post?

Haldeman recounted his first meeting with Power Financial CEO Jeff Orr in October 2006. (Months later, in February 2007, Canada-based Power Financial's Great-West Lifeco subsidiary announced a deal to purchase Putnam from Marsh & McLennan. The deal closed in August.)

"We talked about my role," he recalled. "I said absolutely number one for me was getting a great long-term owner for Putnam and that I was a big boy and I understood the way games are played and sometimes new owners want to make a change in leadership right on day one."

"And the good news was, as Jeff got to know me, we decided that it was important that I stay on as CEO. I said I'm happy to do that. I continue to think that my role, having done the transition, is to position Putnam for the future with leadership that will last way beyond me," he continued.

Haldeman stressed that his role change does not have anything to do with Putnam whistleblower Peter Scannell's recent allegation. "This is not in any way connected to Peter Scannell's theory."

"Mr. Scannell was interviewed many times in 2003 by regulatory authorities, by the Putnam board of trustees, by lawyers," Haldeman said. "It is my understanding from everyone that at that time, Peter didn't raise my name whatsoever. You have to understand I'd only been at the company for eight months and the alleged activity happened in 2001.

"But within the past three or four months, he mentioned that maybe Mr. Lasser told me during the eight months. I have to say that that did not happen. I'm not a believer that Mr. Lasser knew anything to tell me, let alone tell me anything. I'm perplexed as to why he would bring it up at this point."

Haldeman joined Putnam in the fall of 2002 as managing director and co-head of investments, and became president and CEO posts in November 2003, succeeding Larry Lasser, who had been forced out following revelations that the management team had allowed some investors to market time the firm's funds.

Looking back on his CEO stint, Haldeman remarked: "There were a lot of difficult days, but a lot of things we can be proud of."

"I think our team did a great job working through an incredible series of challenges, retaining people and keeping morale up," he said. "I'm really proud of what Kevin and Bill were able to do in terms of our investment area and our distribution area," he said, referring to Kevin Cronin, head of investments, and Bill Connolly, head of global distribution.

He also praised operations chief Steve Krichmar, saying: "Even on our darkest days, we were able to say we that we had the best service in the industry."

Discussing more recent developments at Putnam, Haldeman pointed to the firm's success in turning around the institutional business, saying Putnam has witnessed positive flows since mid-2006. He also cited Putnam's fixed income, asset allocation and money market successes.

"No doubt we haven't been successful across the entire product line, particularly in the large-cap U.S. area," he added. "We haven't done what we hoped and expected to do. We have work to do there." 

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