GLOBAL - James Hirschmann, chief executive of Legg Mason’s Western Asset Management arm, has been named president of Legg Mason itself.

Hirschmann, 45, will take over the post from Raymond ‘Chip’ Mason, who will stay CEO and chairman. Hirschmann will remain CEO at Western until it completes the combination of the recently acquired Citigroup Asset Management fixed income business.

Legg Mason inked a $3.7bn deal last year to buy most of Citigroup’s asset management business in exchange for its brokerage business.

The appointment marks Hirschmann as a future leader of Baltimore-based Legg Mason.

"The preparation of a new generation of leadership for the company is an important responsibility,” said independent director Nicholas St. George.

“The board has focused on succession planning for some time as a key component of corporate governance. We reached a unanimous conclusion that Jim is the right person to become president of the company."

Mason said: "The board and I are confident that Jim's outstanding track record at Western Asset, strong character traits and proven management skills will provide Legg Mason with both an outstanding president and future leader.”

Daniel Fleet, 48, will become president of Western Asset. He’s currently chairman of Western Asset's management committee.