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PIMCO Hires Neel Kashkari

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Earlier today we discussed Neel Kashkari's weight problem (he's determined to lose the 20 pounds he gained while working for the Treasury). We thought it seemed a bit extreme that he would, by his own admission, skip dinner many nights in order to reach his target, but now it's all become clear. He's on a deadline to look good in a bathing suit, having taken a gig with PIMCO in Newport Beach. Here's the full letter from Bill Gross and and Mohamed El-Erian to clients (courtesty of a Dealbreaker Commenter):

December 7, 2009
To our valued clients:
As we come to the end of 2009, we would like to thank you for your continued confidence in PIMCO and share with you some thoughts on the future evolution of our firm.
Over the last couple of years, we have undertaken significant work on the emergence of what we have called the "new normal" for the global economy, and for financed-based economies in particular (including the US). We have also derived implications for our investment strategies, now and going forward.

Throughout this process, our objective has remained the preservation and enrichment of the investment and retirement assets that you have entrusted to PIMCO. We plan to continue the focus and determination that you have come to expect from our firm for almost forty years.
Perhaps less visible to you is the effort that we have made to ensure that our institutional platform and approaches are positioned to serve you in the best and most sustainable manner possible. We recognize that the implications of the new normal for the investment management industry go well beyond adapting investment strategies. There are important consequences for other parts of what makes PIMCO effective in meeting your needs. Specifically, today's ongoing global transformations are impacting the design of investment products, the manner in which we interact with our clients, and the way we run our business. And all this influences the scope and organization of our human and technical resources.
We have already taken a series of steps to further enhance our client servicing, to expand and adapt our product line, and to strengthen our business platform. Having emerged from the global financial crisis stronger-in both absolute and relative terms-PIMCO has been able to deepen its capabilities by adding top talent, as well as increase spending on technology and analytics.
Today we will publicly announce another important step that is part of our efforts to ensure that the firm continues to evolve and meet your investment needs in the future. Specifically-and after a multiyear process of internal assessment, consultation with outside experts, and interviews of many teams-PIMCO will announce the hiring of a highly experienced and successful equity team.
Anne Gudefin and Chuck Lahr are joining us as global equity portfolio managers. They come to us after a highly successful tenure at the Mutual Series of Franklin Templeton where they were the co-portfolio managers for the Franklin Mutual Global Discovery Fund. Anne will begin in early Jan. 2010, and she will be based in our London office. Chuck begins today and he will be based in our New York office.
Why is PIMCO expanding into active equity management at this time? For three main reasons:
• First, and foremost, because we recognize that your needs, as our clients, are also evolving. We have heard you emphasize investment solutions as well as products; and we have already worked closely with several of you in designing multi-asset class approaches that are supplemented by appropriate and cost-effective risk management.
• Second, we believe that PIMCO's time tested investment process can, and will, strongly supplement bottom-up equity management expertise, especially at a time of great fluidity in the global economy and in the capital structures of companies.
• Third, in Anne and Chuck, we have found great experienced complements to the PIMCO investment philosophy and process.
Our firm has continuously evolved throughout our history, drawing strength from a proven investment process and the depth and breadth of our resources. PIMCO's entry into active equity management is another example of this evolution. And consistent with what has served our clients well in the past, this evolution will be measured and disciplined. And, critically, it is aimed at providing you with the best investment management services in the world.
In addition to hiring a top equity team, we have also recognized the need for an experienced person to work closely with PIMCO's Executive Committee to lead our entry into this and other new businesses over time. Accordingly, Neel Kashkari is joining us on December 14 to lead new investment initiatives. Neel will be based in our Newport Beach office.
Many of you may know of Neel from his previous responsibilities at the US Treasury where, until May 2009, he served as Assistant Secretary. Neel quickly established himself as a "go-to" person during the global crisis. We are confident that his skill set will be of direct long-term benefit to our clients-mainly in the positive sense of bringing more talent to PIMCO but also in ensuring that we do not inappropriately divert the focus of other colleagues devoted to what we already deliver to you.
All these steps are part of PIMCO's evolution over the last decade that has already taken us beyond being solely focused on core fixed income. By adding active equities to the range of solutions PIMCO provides, our primary aim remains the same as it as been throughout PIMCO's history: to serve as a trusted advisor to our clients around the world. Importantly, this has not, nor will it distract or detract us from our ongoing management of our fixed income products. It's an evolutionary process-not a revolutionary event-that has been driven by the needs of our clients, the entrepreneurship of our colleagues, and the robustness of our investment process and platform.
In closing, please allow us to wish you the very best for the holiday seasons and the New Year. Thank you again for your trust in PIMCO. We are fully committed to continuing to deliver to you the best investment management services.
With our best regards
Bill Gross
Mohamed A. El-Erian


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