When Emmanuel “Manny” Roman, ’87, arrives at the offices of Pacific Investment Management Co. this fall, the former chief executive of Man Group PLC will swap the London drizzle for sunny California.
But even as Roman looks forward to relocating to the West Coast (his daughters already live in the U.S.), it’s Pimco—the world’s largest bond manager—that’s hoping to gain a leader with a proven track record during a time of global turmoil.
“He will bring to Pimco a completely fresh set of eyes,” said Richard Thaler, Booth’s Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics. “All big firms occasionally need somebody who comes from the outside.”
Booth alumnus Roman has had a long line of accomplishments in what he describes as “a rapidly changing industry.” Most recently he’s led a widely credited turnaround at Man Group, one of the world's largest publicly traded alternative asset managers. Roman took the helm at the UK-based firm three years ago after the company reported a 20 percent drop in assets. In the first quarter of this year, Man Group acquired $500 million of new client money, compared with a $1.3 billion outflow during the same time last year.
“I am sad to be leaving, but I have decided to accept this new, outstanding opportunity and move back to the U.S. where my family is based,” Roman recently told reporters. Before Man Group, he had spent 18 years in various roles at Goldman Sachs.
Roman remains loyal to his business school roots. In 2015, Roman was appointed to a five-year term on the University of Chicago Board of Trustees. In the past, he has been part of the Chicago Booth Distinguished Alumni Award Committee and the Chicago Booth Admissions Alliance.
“Booth was very transformational,” Roman said in an interview with the school last fall. “I've kept quite a strong link with the University and its faculty. I remember being a young student in 1985, not knowing whether I wanted to do a PhD. Booth gave me a chance to work for a premier investment bank, at the time Goldman Sachs. I owe the University quite a bit. But that's only part of the equation. The other part is you need to maintain your knowledge base. You need to find a way to have a link to the University, and keep on reading research, know what's happening, and understanding that the world evolved dramatically.”
A few years ago, Roman and Thaler struck up a friendship after the executive was asked to host a Booth event in London. The two bonded over their love of fine wine. “He’s unconventional in the best sense of the word,” said Thaler.
Outside of work, Roman is just as focused on success. He’s on the board of publishing giant Penguin Random House, an executive trustee of the Tate Foundation to support the group of UK galleries, and a trustee of literary magazine Paris Review. This May, Roman helped award the Man Booker International Prize, sponsored by Man, to South Korean author Han Kang. In 2013, Roman also made a gift to the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago, where the directorship is now named for the Roman family. “There’s no stereotypes to which he fits. He’s a quant who’s an art lover,” said Thaler.
Future colleagues are already expecting Roman to make a mark on Allianz-owned Pimco when he officially takes the reigns in November. “I would advise my friends at Pimco to be ready to be asked questions about anything and everything,” Thaler said.
—By Alina Dizik
August 8, 2016