GERMANY - Johann Goldbrunner, head of Europe for Allianz Global Investors, has decided to resign on April 1 – just three months after taking on the role.

He is to be replaced by Elizabeth Corley, a former managing director at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers.

AGI said Goldbrunner’s decision was “part of his long-term plan to focus his interests in the academic world”. It added that after his departure, Goldbrunner would continue to support the German asset manager as a consultant.

Heinrich Durstewitz, AGI’s chief spokesman in Frankfurt, stressed that Goldbrunner’s decision to leave was purely for the reasons given in the statement. “We were just as surprised as you, but it seems that Mr Goldbrunner may have planned for some time to return to academia,” Durstewitz told IPE.

Like her predecessor, Corley will report to Joachim Faber, AGI’s chief executive, from offices in London and Munich. At MLIM, Corley was head of distribution for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Commenting on Goldbrunner’s surprise resignation, Faber said: “We respect his wishes to return to academia and are grateful for his offer to stay connected to us as a consultant, advisor and trusted friend.”

He added: “We are confident that Ms. Corley’s experience will allow us to further strengthen our European business and help ensure that AGI remains one of the world’s pre-eminent asset managers.”

In early December, IPE reported that Goldbrunner would take over as AGI’s head of Europe on January 1 2005. The appointment was part of the creation of AGI, a new holding company for the global asset management activities of German bancassurance group Allianz-Dresdner.

Along with Goldbrunner’s position, AGI created heads for the US and the Asian/Japan regions. Goldbrunner’s main tasks were to bolster AGI’s position in France and Italy as well as to expand its operations to central and eastern Europe.

Currently, AGI has a total of €362bn in assets under management, €160bn of which is institutional money.