GLOBAL - Consulting firm Mercer has just announced a series of major changes to its senior investment consulting arm, including the appointment of Andrew Kirton (pictured, right) as global head of the operation.

Tim Gardener, (pictured, below right) who has led the investment consulting business for over 20 years, is taking up a new role as global chief investment strategist at Mercer, so Kirton has been promoted to from his current position as European head of investment consulting to global head, and has been made a member of Mercer's global operating committee.

At the same time, Rich Nuzum, previously head of Mercer investment consulting business in the Americas, has been named to succeed Phil de Cristo as president and global head of Mercer's investment management business, as de Cristo has also accepted a newly-created role as president and group executive of Mercer's investment businesses.

Gardener, who has worked in the pension and investment consulting arena for over 30 years, will act as a senior adviser to clients while focusing on high-level strategic issues, reporting directly to Michele Burns, Mercer's chairman and chief executive in his new position, as will de Cristo.

Tom Geraghty has also been raised from his head of Mercer Ireland's investment consulting role to replace Kirton as European head of the business, while Jeffery Schutes, former US national business leader at the firm, will step into Nuzum's earlier role.

Ken Crotty, formerly global chief operating officer for investment management, will assume that role for Mercer's investment businesses, reporting to Mr. de Cristo, as will Kirton and Nuzum.
"The broadening of our investments business is a prime example of Mercer's commitment to achieving undisputed leadership across all of our key market segments, including consulting and outsourcing," said Burns.

"While investment consulting and investment management will remain independent lines of business, they will work together seamlessly to provide a full range of solutions to our clients across the investment spectrum," she continued.

This is the second such major shake-up of senior players at a pensions consultancy firm in recent months, as Watson Wyatt announced in March Roger Urwin would be replaced by Carl Hess as global head of investment consulting, so Urwin could pursue a new role looking at the firm's global development and delivery of investment research. (See earlier IPE story: Watson's Urwin hands reins to Hess)