John Nuveen & Co., Chicago, has hired an executive from crosstown rival Van Kampen Funds in a bid to build up its mutual funds business.

Mark T. McGannon joined Nuveen this month as a managing director. He is responsible for marketing and product development for the business line and reports to Nuveen's second-highest executive, chief financial officer John Amboian.

Nuveen is well known for its unit investment trusts, municipal bond funds, and closed-end mutual funds. But its overall mutual fund business has been overshadowed by those products, and the company is still playing catch-up after making a late entrance into equity funds.

"Nuveen has had an uphill battle getting into the mainstream mutual fund world," said Burton Greenwald, a mutual fund consultant in Philadelphia. The company is thought of as a unit trust and municipal bond house, he said.

Mr. McGannon will oversee the addition of equity funds and the expansion of the company's bond fund lineup to include taxable bond funds.

Mr. McGannon, who declined to be interviewed for this article, was most recently director of marketing at Van Kampen, which is considered to have one of the better marketing operations in the fund industry.

Before that, he was Van Kampen's national sales manager, focusing largely on bank distribution. The Chicago native has a distinctive background-he was a Marine Corps captain and later an agent in the Secret Service before joining Van Kampen.

At Nuveen, Mr. McGannon succeeds Jud Bergman, a managing director. Mr. Bergman is now the company's head of corporate development, which involves arranging mergers, acquisitions, and alliances. It is a post he previously held.

Michael Forstl, the head of bank distribution for Nuveen, said Mr. McGannon's background in bank distribution should help build sales through that channel.

The company had $7.7 billion of sales last year across its product lines. Bank sales accounted for $850 million of that, up from $650 million the year earlier.

Nuveen might even add products aimed at bank customers, Mr. Forstl said. Conservative funds investing in bank loans are an example of a kind of product that is popular with bank customers.

Nuveen added its first equity fund just three years ago through a partnership with Institutional Capital Corp., a Chicago-based investment management firm. It now offers a handful of equity funds managed by that company.

And it bought Rittenhouse Financial Services, an asset management firm in Radnor, Pa., in 1997. Rittenhouse manages a blue-chip growth fund for Nuveen.

Nuveen reportedly considered buying BankAmerica Corp.'s Robertson Stephens Investment Management unit last year before it was sold to a group of its executives.

The company rolled out its first equity unit investment trust just two years ago. Unlike mutual funds, unit trusts hold a fixed number of assets and have a fixed maturity date.

Nuveen has $26 billion of closed-end funds, which have a limited number of shares. It manages $16 billion in separate accounts, $13 billion in open-ended mutual funds, and $11 billion in unit trusts. Nuveen manages or oversees $66 billion of assets.

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