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Gundlach thought he could succeed Gross at Pimco, consultant testifies

August 29, 2011 |  5:03 pm

Gundlachsohn
Former TCW Group Inc. investment chief Jeffrey Gundlach believed he was in the running to succeed bond guru Bill Gross at the Pimco funds, according to a consultant who worked with Gundlach in 2009.

Gundlach, who has become one of the biggest stars in the bond-fund world in the last few years, is embroiled in a bitter court fight with TCW, which fired him in December 2009.

TCW's lawyers have been trying to convince the jury in the case that Gundlach, 51, was plotting to leave TCW all through 2009, and that ousting him was a defensive move.

From a Reuters report Monday from the trial in L.A. County Superior Court:

Star bond fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach was in discussions to leave Trust Company of the West and succeed Bill Gross at Pacific Investment Management in 2009, according to court testimony.

"He had been in conversations with Pimco about joining them," said Roger Brossy, a consultant who worked with Gundlach in 2009.

Brossy, an outside management compensation consultant, was involved in separate talks between Gundlach and Western Asset Management Co. in mid-2009 -- dubbed "Project Artwork.”

As they negotiated Gundlach's possible move to Western Asset Management, Gundlach told Brossy of the Pimco negotiations, Brossy said on Monday.

"Pimco wants me to succeed Gross," Brossy recalled Gundlach saying in early 2009.

The 67-year-old Gross has given no indication publicly of wanting to step down as co-chief investment officer at Pimco, which he co-founded in 1971 in Newport Beach.

A Pimco spokesman had no comment on Brossy’s testimony.

Gundlach, who now heads DoubleLine Capital in L.A., has testified that he had no intention of leaving TCW, but that he believed the firm was trying to drive him out.

TCW sued Gundlach one month after firing him, alleging that he and key aides conspired against the firm and stole massive amounts of TCW proprietary information to quickly set up DoubleLine.

Gundlach then countersued, accusing TCW of firing him after 24 years at the firm to cheat him out of a huge chunk of promised income.

Each side is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from the other.

The civil trial, which began in late July, isn't expected to wrap up until after Labor Day.

RELATED:

Gundlach's lawyers say TCW had plan to fire him in summer 2009

Judge admonishes Gundlach for talking to jurors in elevator

Did skipping the boss' parties at TCW cost Gundlach his job?

-- Tom Petruno

Photo: DoubleLine Capital founder Jeffrey Gundlach, speaking at an investment conference in New York in May. Credit: Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

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