Donovan Jumps Fidelity Ship for…Putnam

April 13, 2009 ( - Walter Donovan, Fidelity Investments' equity chief, has left the firm to join Putnam Investments, the highest-ranking Fidelity executive to jump to the company since Bob Reynolds took over as chief executive officer in July.

According to published reports (and a press release issued by Putnam this morning), Donovan will be Putnam’s chief investment officer, overseeing equities and fixed income. Donovan succeeds Kevin Cronin, who stepped down on October 1 for personal reasons (see Cronin to Leave Putnam Investment Chief Post ).

Donovan, 46, previously served as President of the Equity Division for Fidelity Investments since the beginning of 2007, during which time he oversaw a further build out of international investment and mega-cap investment capabilities, development of a style consistent value team, a multi-manager group, and a strong focus on select fund performance and sales. He also ran the high income bond division, according to an announcement.

In his Putnam role overseeing the management of the entire investment group, Donovan will lead an investment organization that, according to a Putnam press release, “has seen the arrival of an array of well-regarded senior portfolio managers, research analysts and equity traders, as well as the launch of the industry’s first suite of target absolute return funds (see Putnam Releases Absolute Return Suite , along with a broad restructuring of the equity investment division itself last fall.”

“In Walter Donovan, we are bringing aboard an investment chief of extraordinary talent and experience, who will take the lead in driving continued improvement in investment results for Putnam’s clients and shareholders,” said Reynolds. “Given the challenges and opportunities provided by today’s market environment, we sought – and now have – a distinguished industry veteran to lead our investment team, as we create a performance-driven culture for a new era at Putnam.”

Prior to joining Putnam, Donovan held a number of key positions at Fidelity including Executive Vice President and head of Equity Research, head of High Income Division, and leadership roles in Equity Trading, Structured Credit, and Counterparty Risk Management. Upon joining the company in 1995, he was Director and Head Trader of Taxable Fixed Income, and then became Director of High Income and Emerging Market Debt Trading.

Other Fidelity Draws

Donovan is only the latest Fidelity alum to find a new home at Putnam. Benjamin Lewis was just named Managing Director of Defined Contribution Sales and Relationship Management (see Fidelity Alum Lewis Joins Ex-Colleagues at Putnam ), and he will be reporting to Putnam Managing Director and Head of Defined Contribution, Edmund F. Murphy III, who also joined Putnam earlier this year from Fidelity Investments, where he was executive vice president of distribution for Personal and Workplace Investing (seePutnam Names Fidelity Alum as New DC Business Leader).

Last December, Clare Richer and Andra Bolotin joined Putnam as Senior Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer, and Managing Director and Controller, respectively (see Fidelity Alum Train Continues Chugging Over to Putnam ) .

Reynolds, 57, a former vice chairman at Fidelity and a 23-year veteran of that firm, has seen a steady stream of talent follow him from the world’s biggest mutual-fund manager to Putnam since his arrival last June (see Former Fidelity COO to Lead Putnam Investments ).

Reynolds was awarded PLANSPONSOR’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, and was acknowledged as a key industry figure of the decade in PLANSPONSOR’s Tenth Anniversary issue .