Hires & Fires: Kandel quits Unicredit as Aton ramps up/ Blackrock parts company with Monoviski

By Taras Rybak in London

Alexander Kandel, chief executive and head of investment banking at Italy’s UniCredit Securities in Moscow, is leaving the group just as it is engaged in a battle with Russian bank Aton for its staff.

UniCredit said Kandel was leaving shortly for “personal reasons”  to take some time out and would not speculate whether he would be joining Aton at a later stage. Unicredit declined to comment on a possible replacement and said Kandel would assist with a transition.

Kandel joined Aton 1994 as a portfolio manager. Since January 2003, he has been chief executive of Aton, before being appointed chief executive of UniCredit in Russia.

UniCredit completed the acquisition of the institutional business of Aton Capital in July 2007 for $424m. The Aton brand was subsequently dropped in February this year and the Russian business was renamed UniCredit Securities.

Evgeny Yuriev, the president  and founder of Aton Capital, has now decided to re-enter the investment banking market having retained the Aton Line discount brokerage and Aton asset management businesses following the deal in 2007.

Unicredit confirmed Aton had already recruited four of its staff, including head of equity trading Denis Sarantsev.

The Italian bank said Steven Dashevsky, its head of equities, would remain with the group.

Meanwhile US fund manager Blackrock has parted company with Plamen Monoviski, a senior member of its emerging markets fund team since May 2005.

Monovski, the lead manager on the £136m BlackRock Emerging Markets fund, has departed the firm just weeks after the exit of Alain Bourrier.

Monowski began his career in 1994 with a Bulgarian management company before moving to Coopers & Lybrand, and then Merill Lynch Investment Management (since rebranded as Blackrock) in 1997 to specialise on emerging markets.

Blackrock had recently been a bit buyer of Russian stocks. Monowski told Bloomberg less than two weeks ago that Russia represents the main overweight holding in BlackRock’s emerging-market funds.

“A lot of things were priced for bankruptcy,” he told Bloomberg News. “All you need in Russia is a rally in commodity prices, and the outlook for the economy changes pretty quickly.”

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