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News July 11, 2011 Issue

Rominger Selects A Deputy, Appoints New "Managing Executive" Of IM

The names are familiar, but theyíre wearing new hats.

Robert Plaze, a 27-year veteran and long-serving associate director of the Division of Investment Management (IM), has been tapped as deputy director by IM director Eileen Rominger.

Plazeís decades-spanning service in IM includes an integral role in the divisionís response to the financial crisis in late 2008 and 2009. He was particularly involved in the SECís response to uncertainties in the money markets after Lehman Brothers collapsed and the Reserve Primary Fund broke the buck.

The SEC announced Plazeís appointment on July 1 at the same time it announced the creation of a new "Managing Executive" position within IM.

Diane Blizzard, an 11-year SEC veteran and most recently Senior Adviser to the Director, received the inaugural appointment to the managing executive post. In that role, Blizzard will be responsible for the overall management of all administrative, resource allocation, and strategic planning initiatives in IM. She will also assess the effectiveness of the divisionís work processes and oversee "business improvement projects" to streamline workflow.

Rominger, the divisionís first non-lawyer director and a thirty-year veteran of the asset management industry, has informally referred to the divisionís work as its "business" since her arrival. That theme that appears to be carried through in the creation of the managing executive position.

Whatís ahead for IM.

The final shape of the divisionís leadership team remains to be seen.

It is unclear whether the Special Adviser to the Director position will remain and be filled, or whether other positions with varying responsibilities will be created. The associate director slot vacated by Plaze must be filled. Also, the initial term of hedge fund expert and SEC attorney fellow David Vaughan is ending. Whether Vaughan will stay on or another fellow Ė with the same or differing expertise Ė will be invited for a tour on the staff is an open question.

IMís new leadership team may also have more significant changes in mind, similar to the establishment of specialized units in the Division of Enforcement. Private fund adviser registrations will dramatically increase in the first quarter of 2012, for example, and that could be an area of more dedicated resources for IM.