Photo montage showing Salim Ramji (left) and Tim Buckley, with Vanguard logo in the background
Salim Ramji, left and Tim Buckley © FT montage/Bloomberg/David Parry

Vanguard has chosen Salim Ramji, a former senior executive at BlackRock, to be its fifth chief executive, making him the first outsider to head the $9tn money manager.

Ramji will replace Tim Buckley, who said in March that he planned to retire after six years as CEO of Vanguard, which pioneered passive investing under its late founder John Bogle. The Pennsylvania-based firm is the world’s second-largest money manager behind BlackRock.

A former McKinsey partner, Ramji joined BlackRock a decade ago to head corporate strategy. He rose to lead its huge iShares and exchange trade funds business during a period of rapid growth. During his tenure, BlackRock launched its first spot bitcoin ETF as well as a suite of bond products.

Ramji was seen as one of BlackRock’s rising stars until he announced his resignation in January as part of a broad reorganisation. At the time, people close to him said he would likely seek to run a firm of his own, given that BlackRock founder Larry Fink shows no sign of slowing down.

BlackRock congratulated Ramji on his appointment in a statement on Tuesday, saying it was “proud to have a track record of our firm’s alumni going on to lead multiple investment management companies and financial institutions.”

Mark Loughridge, Vanguard’s lead independent director, described Ramji as an “exceptional leader” who would help the firm, which is owned by its investors, explore growth opportunities in wealth management and the greater use of technology. Buckley plans to step down as chair and CEO, with Loughridge to become chair.

Ramji, who started his career as a lawyer with Clifford Chance in London and Hong Kong, said in a statement: “It’s an honour to join Vanguard . . . the current investor landscape is changing, and that presents opportunities for Vanguard to further its mission of giving people the best chance for investment success.” He will start in July.

Vanguard also said on Tuesday that president and chief investment officer Greg Davis, who had been seen as a leading internal candidate to be chief executive, would join the firm’s board of directors and expand his responsibilities for regulatory and government affairs.

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