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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Manning's New CEO Creates a Broad, Flat Organization

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

"It's not my current intention to bring in new people and make a lot of structural changes," Marc Mayer, the new CEO of Manning & Napier [profile], tells MFWire.

Mayer took over as the publicly traded, Fairport, New York-based mutual fund's CEO at the end of last month. He succeeded a trio of co-CEOs: Chuck Stamey, sales and distribution managing director and executive vice president; Richard Goldberg, board member; and Jeff Coons, president.

"Jeff Coons and Chuck Stamey will be leaving the firm. They are helping as consultants to us and to me over the next few months," Mayer says. "Goldberg ... will remain on the board, and he will also work with us and work with me as a special advisor to the CEO."

Yet Mayer will not be hiring or promoting to fill Stamey's and Coons' positions, at least not yet.

"For the time being, all of the people and the functional areas ... all of those now report to me," Mayer says:
There is now a broad, flat organization. It shortens the communication arc. It allows for the empowerment of the leadership in the various areas. It allows me to work very closely with them. I don't want to put in many more layers and create hierarchy at this point.

Mayer leaves the door option to such senior promotions or hirings further down the line, once he's gotten to know the firm and his team better and once they've gotten to know him.

"Then I can start to think about structural things," Mayer says. "There's no pressing need to do anything at this point."

In the meantime, Mayer has "a series of urgent and important priorities" that he and his team are Manning & Napier are looking to address.

"The central one in my mind (and one that's already begun) is to understand for our longest standing clients — our core clients, those who have been with us in many cases for decades — what is it that they value so highly about what we do and are we doing the very best job that we can in delivering those services," Mayer says, pointing to the firm's asset allocation decisions, client engagement efforts, and research processes. "The things that are really good and differentiated about Manning & Napier I want to make sure that we're doing the very best that we can there, because that's the heart and soul of the firm."

Mayer is also aiming to take on "a lot of complexities" at Manning & Napier.

"I want to understand which are the complexities that are additive and contributory to our excellence and which ones may not be and either can be improved or restructured in some way."

Mayer entered the asset management business three decades ago as an equity research analyst at Sanford Bernstein, and over the years he has worked in research, investing, distribution, and overall management at several different asset managers.

"Having perspective from each of those dimensions is helpful for the role that I have at Manning & Napier," Mayer says. "This is a very special firm with a very special team of people."

Coons, a 34-year Manning & Napier veteran, rose to president in 2010. He is an alumnus of the University of Rochester and of Temple University.

Stamey, a 26-year Manning & Napier veteran, had served as managing director of sales and distribution since 2010. He is an alumnus of Ohio State University and of Mount Vernon Nazarene University. 

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