GLOBAL – Sarah Russell has formally taken over from Huibert Boumeester as chief executive of ABN Amro’s asset management division, the bank said.

Russell, an Australian who joined the Dutch bank in 1994, emerged as Boumeester’s successor in October last year. She was most recently chief financial officer of the bank’s Wholesale Clients unit, which is being “undundled”.

The Asset Management business unit raised its assets under management by 9.6% to €176.2bn at the end of 2005 from €160.7bn a year before, the bank said in its full-year earnings report today.

Following the sale of its trust business and operations in Kazakhstan, total employees at the unit have fallen 13.8% to 1,655.

Its total operating income rose 20.5% to €682m. Net operating profit in the fourth quarter was €37m compared to €30m a year before.

Overall, ABN Amro posted a fourth-quarter net income of €1.3bn.

“We achieved strong results during the year, driven by strong organic growth in all our consumer and commercial client businesses,” the company said.

“This organic growth reflects the benefits of continuing focus on the strong local relationships we have with our mid-market clients, supported by our high-quality global product capabilities.”

On January 20 ABN Amro said it would buy fund of hedge funds firm International Asset Management for an undisclosed sum.