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Peek performance

New year, new troubled asset management franchise. That's how 2002 is shaping up for Jeff Peek, the former Merrill Lynch investment management chief who takes charge next month at Credit Suisse Asset Management.

The 54-year-old Peek, who lost out to Stan O'Neal in the race to succeed Merrill CEO Dave Komansky, did quite a job of reviving the giant brokerage's retail funds business - a longtime laggard - though he was somewhat less successful with the institutional management operation. Peek's predecessor at CSAM, Phillip Colebatch, had reported to Credit Suisse Group CEO Lukas MÙhlemann, but this year control of the division shifts to CSFB chief John Mack, who is eager to rev up its performance as part of his effort to rebuild the investment bank. With $270 billion under management, CSAM currently accounts for 5 percent of Credit Suisse Group's overall revenues, and Mack is clearly hoping for more. Inside sources say that Mack, who persistently preaches cooperation among the firm's many different operations, is looking to pull some asset management business from the firm's investment banking relationships, a strategy used most notably by Goldman Sachs to grow high-net-worth and corporate assets under management. Peek declined to comment.