Less than three months after Mellon Bank Corp. finalized its deal for Founders Asset Management, the Denver fund company is leaking talent.
Last week Edward F. Keely, manager of the company's flagship portfolio, the $2.3 billion-asset Founders Growth Fund, said he plans to leave by the end of the summer.
Mr. Keely is going to Janus Funds, also in Denver, where he will manage a large pool of private institutional and subadvised accounts, he said.
Mr. Keely's resignation announcement came just two weeks after Jonathan F. Zeschin, president and chief executive officer, disclosed his own plans to resign. Mr. Zeschin, who reportedly opposed the deal with Pittsburgh- based Mellon, will leave next month.
Another Founders professional, Jim Rankin, head of shareholder services, has said he will leave the company, a Founders spokesman confirmed. Neither Mr. Rankin nor Mr. Zeschin has disclosed his plans, the spokesman said. They did not return calls seeking comment.
Defections after any acquisition are common, observers said.
Departing fund managers have cited as a reason for leaving the loss of entrepreneurial culture in the wake of a bank acquisition. But observers said that might not have been a factor in this instance.
One analyst expressed surprise at the resignations. Mellon has a successful fund subsidiary, Dreyfus Corp., and the banking company indicated it would leave Founders alone, said Burton J. Greenwald, a mutual fund analyst based in Philadelphia.
"When they announced that deal, for what I thought an expensive price, I thought they were trying to lock in people," Mr. Greenwald added.
Mellon reportedly paid $275 million for Founders, an 11-fund no-load family with more than $7 billion of assets under management as of April 30. Founders' fund managers had reportedly hired legal representation during negotiations to ensure a fair deal
"I think in acquisitions, in general, some people are going to choose not to stay," said Susan Fowler, an executive recruiter with Russell Reynolds Associates, a New York-based headhunter. "I don't think it makes any difference whether it's a bank, or an insurance company, or a securities firm."
"These are individual decisions that out of context seem something they're not," said the Founders spokesman.
Mellon and Founders have initiated a search to fill both Mr. Zeschin'sCEO post and the job of manager of the Growth Fund, the spokesman added.