Roderick Munsters, chief executive at Robeco, has announced his departure after six years at the helm and two years since Japan’s Orix Corporation acquired the €273bn Dutch asset manager from Rabobank.
In a statement, Munsters said Robeco was in “good shape” two years after the acquisition, with “solid financial performance and a strong long-term strategy”.
“This,” he said, “is therefore a natural moment for me to hand over my responsibilities to new leadership.”
However, according to Dutch financial news daily Het Financieele Dagblad (FD), Orix believes Munsters lacks the international experience needed to realise the company’s expansion plans.
The FD, citing “market sources”, said Orix therefore requested that Munsters resign.
Makoto Inoue, chief executive at Orix, has indicated in recent interviews that his company is actively seeking overseas acquisitions, with a view to doubling Robeco’s assets under management.
He also confirmed Orix was looking for a US-based asset manager.
He has also been chairman at Eumedion, the Dutch industry organisation for corporate governance.
The FD, citing “sources near Robeco”, suggested Orix believed that, in light of Munsters’s Dutch background, the cultural shift required in overseeing international organisations – which, “given their complexity”, require “much empathy for other cultures, as well as other management models” – would have been too great.
The FD also suggested Orix was mulling a bid for Russell Investments, currently owned by the London Stock Exchange.
Last year, Robeco announced that it would set up a London office, focusing on the institutional market, as well as an office in Singapore, which would target sovereign wealth funds and key accounts.
The asset manager has offices in Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Munsters said he would remain with the company for a few more months to ensure a “seamless transition”.