Pimco chief executive Mohamed El-Erian to leave firm

California-based Pimco gave no reason for El-Erian's departure

Bond fund giant Pimco said late on Tuesday that Mohamed El-Erian, its chief executive and co-chief investment officer, would leave the firm in mid-March.

California-based Pimco, a subsidiary of German insurer Allianz, gave no reason for El-Erian's departure. El-Erian has been one of the most prominent commentators on finance and economics in the US financial news media in recent years.

The bond market took a hit in 2013 as investors switched money into shares from bonds, and Pimco, which manages assets of roughly $2 trillion, suffered big outflows of money, according to research firm Morningstar.

Bill Gross, who has been co-chief investment officer of Pimco with El-Erian, will continue as the firm’s chief investment officer.

Douglas Hodge, currently chief operating officer of the firm, will become Pimco’s next chief executive.

Managing directors Andrew Balls, the younger brother of British shadow chancellor Ed Balls, and Daniel Ivascyn will become deputy chief investment officers.

“Mohamed El-Erian helped set the strategic direction of the company and it certainly makes a difference when someone who is used to making such headlines leaves a company,” Jeff Tjornehoj, senior research analyst at Lipper, told Reuters.

“We don't know what kind of impact it will have yet but it will have an impact.”

Pimco said El-Erian, 55, “will remain a member of the Allianz International Executive Committee and, as of mid-March, also advise the Board of Management of Allianz on global economic and policy issues.”

In a statement, El-Erian said only: “I have been extremely honored and fortunate to work alongside Bill Gross, who is one of the very best investors in the world. His talents are truly exceptional, as is his dedication ...”

Gross said: “ … Together we have guided the firm and served our clients during a period of significant change in the global economy and financial markets. We are pleased that he (El-Erian) will remain a part of the Allianz Group.”