Who Will Replace Larry Fink?

A recent article in Institutional Investor discusses the future of BlackRock with respect to the firm’s succession planning and points raised in a January memo to employees from Larry Fink, the firm’s 66-year-old chairman and chief executive.

The article reports that in his memo Fink “laid out the long-simmering pressures facing the industry” and predicted “plenty of turbulence in BlackRock’s future.” He wrote, “Last year, when active management, including the hedge fund industry, was expected to outperform, the majority of the industry didn’t—which will only accelerate the bar belling of client investments into index and illiquid alternative products.” Fink explained that BlackRock would be making changes to position it for the future, emphasizing that “This is certainly not the first time we have faced adversity as a firm.”

Although Fink didn’t specifically address his succession plan, the article says, “Figuring out the answer to that question might be BlackRock’s biggest challenge yet,” and notes that the firm started formalizing its current succession plan about four years ago. The article explains the firm’s present leadership structure and cites a short list of candidates who might take the baton from Fink and how they might—or might not—fit the bill.

“Fink’s successor,’ the article concludes, “won’t just need to be a visionary. A newly minted CEO will also need to guide the company through the next downturn and do so within an industry that is begging to be disrupted—and faces threats of just that from the likes of Google and Amazon.com.”