FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Pimco Chief Executive Douglas Hodge said the resignation of his predecessor Mohamed El-Erian caught everybody by surprise but an internal succession plan enabled the bond fund manager to distribute his tasks swiftly.
"Mohamed El-Erian's departure was a very personal decision and was a big surprise for all of us," Hodge was quoted as telling German newspaper Euro am Sonntag on Saturday.
El-Erian, who had been widely seen as co-founder Bill Gross's heir apparent, stunned the investment community in January by announcing his departure. He will leave Pimco, a unit of Germany's Allianz (ALVG.DE), Europe's largest insurer, in mid-March.
Several U.S. institutional investors have said they are closely monitoring the developments at Pimco in the wake of El-Erian's abrupt resignation as CEO and ensuing acrimony between him and Gross.
Hodge said El-Erian's departure was the third change at the top of management in the company's 43-year-history.
"But we have always of course a succession plan and a strong team. That's why we could quickly distribute Mohamed's tasks internally," he said.
He also said the realignment in responsibilities would enable Pimco to make some changes in order to cope with the immense growth in the past years as well as changes in market conditions and customer demands.
Reporting by Marilyn Gerlach; Editing by Susan Fenton