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Russell Investments Taps BlackRock Exec for New CEO

Zach Buchwald will step into the role vacated by Michelle Seitz, who left in 2022 to start her own firm.

Russell Investments has appointed a new chief executive officer following the departure of Michelle Seitz last year.

Zach Buchwald, who is the head of BlackRock’s U.S. and Canadian institutional business, will officially take on the role of Russell’s CEO and chairman on May 1. Seitz departed the firm in September 2022 to launch investment firm MeydenVest Partners.

Buchwald will be tasked with growing Russell as a firm, according to the announcement. At present, Russell manages $276.5 billion in assets.

“Zach is expertly prepared to further the firm’s innovation success — from cutting-edge asset allocation and unparalleled money manager insights to some of the earliest forays into factor exposures, and a competitively recognized implementation capability — to address the exacting demands of investors globally,” said Russell president and chief investment officer Kate El-Hillow in a statement.

Buchwald spent nearly 15 years at BlackRock, where he also led the firm’s financial institutions group in the Americas and helped establish its retirement solutions group and financial markets advisory platforms. At BlackRock, he served as a sponsor of the LGBT employee network.

Before joining BlackRock, Buchwald worked as a managing director at Morgan Stanley, where he held roles in the firm’s fixed income division. He ended his tenure there in 2008, when he had “leadership responsibility” for the bank’s collateralized loan obligation platform, the announcement said.

“I am deeply honored to join Russell Investments,” Buchwald said in a statement. “I’ve long admired Russell Investments’ unique legacy as a pioneer in investment consulting, OCIO, portfolio implementation, and much more.”

Buchwald serves as a trustee for the Public Theater and on the board of directors for Jericho Project, a non-profit homeless service organization.

Buchwald is the latest executive Russell Investments has tapped from a major asset management firm. In 2021, the firm hired El-Hillow from Goldman Sachs and appointed J.P. Morgan mutual fund trustee Kevin Klingert as president.

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