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U.S. Jobs' Roundup: Marsh Mac moves in to trim Putnam

Marsh & McLennan, the beleaguered insurance group under investigation for improper payments, is making changes from the top down.

It has let go five directors, will be making 100 redundancies at its fund management firm Putnam Investments, and has appointed Peter Beshar, a litigator with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, as its new general counsel.

Beshar succeeds William Rosoff, who recently resigned.

The departing directors are Mathis Cabiallavetta, Marsh & McLennan vice chairman; Peter Coster, president of its Mercer consultancy; Charles Davis, chairman and chief executive of MMC Capital; Ray Groves, senior adviser to Marsh; and A.J.C. Smith, chairman of Putnam Investments.

Michael Cherkasky, Marsh Mac's new chief executive and a former colleague of Eliot Spitzer, the New York state attorney general who is investigating the group, is now the only Marsh executive on the board. The latest job losses include an undisclosed number of senior managers in Putnam's internal operations and support functions and three investment management professionals, who are leaving in an unrelated shake-up of Putnam's large-cap equities team. The lay-offs at Putnam come a week after Cherkasky outlined the company's intention to shed 3,000 jobs to save money.

Investment banking moves

Wachovia Securities has hired George Johns from Banc of America Securities to head up its financial institutions investment banking practice. Johns will be responsible for developing and implementing origination strategy for Wachovia's client base of financial institutions, including these in the specialty finance, insurance, asset management and commercial bank sectors. Parent Wachovia Corporation has promoted Shannon McFayden to lead a division that includes human resources, community development, community affairs, corporate communications, marketing and customer analysis research and targeting. McFayden has spent much of her 22-year career with Wachovia leading various areas of human resources

New York-based investment banking boutique Financo hired former Merrill Lynch banker William S. Susman to be its new president and chief operating officer. Susman recently headed up Merrill Lynch's retail and consumer products investment banking efforts. Financo specialises in servicing the global merchandising and consumer-oriented sector.

ThinkEquity Partners, a San Fransisco-based institutional investment bank, said that Kirsten Edwards has joined the firm as the senior education analyst and vice president. In this position, Edwards will head up the firm's coverage of the top growth companies focused on the education services and technology market. Edwards joins from Jefferies & Company, where she worked in equity research covering the knowledge services sector.

Wealth management

Stephen H. Weiss, co-founder of the investment firm of Weiss, Peck & Greer, has joined Lehman Brothers-owned wealth management firm Neuberger Berman as senior portfolio manager in the Kamen Portfolio Management Group.

Brut COO gets senior Nasdaq post

Nasdaq, the electronic stock market, has appointed the chief operating officer of Brut, the electronic communications network it bought two months ago, to a senior executive role in its data distribution division. William O'Brien has become senior vice president of the market data distribution operation, which forms part of Nasdaq Data Products. The division, which is one of the exchange's four main businesses, provides traders, issuers and investors with data on the Nasdaq market.

Wharton Prof joins indexing firm

Wharton Professor Jeremy J. Siegel has joined New York-based Index Development Partners (IDP) as its senior investment strategy advisor. Siegel will continue teaching at Wharton and act as a consultant to IDP, which develops stock indexes and intends to become a sponsor of exchange-traded funds and other financial products. Siegel's book Stocks for the Long Run was named by Business Week magazine as one of the top ten business books published in 1994 and his latest book, The Future for Investors, is scheduled for publication in early 2005.

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