(Adds details on BlackRock strategy, Cisco)
By Trevor Hunnicutt
NEW YORK, April 5 BlackRock Inc, the
world's largest asset manager, on Wednesday said Cisco Systems
Inc Chief Executive Chuck Robbins has been nominated to
serve on its board of directors.
Robbins will join the board as an independent director, if
elected by shareholders, following BlackRock's May 25 annual
meeting, the company said in a statement.
He brings technology expertise to a company trying to steer
an industry that is being remade both by technology and
investors' move to lower-cost products such as index funds.
Murry Gerber, an existing BlackRock board member and former
chief executive of EQT Corp, will become the lead
independent director, according to a person familiar with the
Former PNC Financial Services Group Inc Chief
Executive Thomas O'Brien, who had been the lead independent
director, will not stand for reelection. Nor will former Merrill
Lynch & Co Chief Executive David Komansky.
PNC is a major BlackRock shareholder and its current chief
executive, William Demchak, sits on BlackRock's board.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has placed an unusual emphasis on
highly sophisticated technology for a company in his industry,
for instance promoting Aladdin, an operating system for money
managers that the company maintains, licenses to its rivals and
also uses itself.
Fink, who is also chairman of the company's board, is also
attempting to reengineer the company's funds by relying more on
computers and data-mining to pick stocks.
Other asset managers are taking notice, investing in
engineering talent and in "robo-advice" tools that manage
investors' money automatically. T. Rowe Price Group Inc
said on Wednesday it would open a new Technology Development
Center in New York.
"Throughout his career, Chuck has helped global corporations
navigate a world being reshaped by technological advancement,"
Fink said in a statement.
"At BlackRock, technology is rapidly transforming how we
invest, measure risk, distribute our products, and run our
BlackRock managed $5 trillion at the end of 2016.
Robbins is a veteran at the network equipment maker, a totem
of the dotcom stock boom at the turn of this century. He took
over from longtime Chief Executive John Chambers in 2015.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Chris Reese and