Cisco’s CEO joins BlackRock’s board

The move underscores BlackRock’s drive towards technologically backed investment decisions.

The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock Inc, has disclosed that Chuck Robbins, Cisco Systems Inc’s Chief Executive has been nominated to serve on its board of directors.

In its statement BlackRock disclosed that Robbins will be joining the board as an independent director, if elected by shareholders, after its May 25 annual general meeting.

Robbins will be bringing his technological expertise in a company that is trying to steer into technology as investors and financial companies are pushing towards lowering the cost of products.

As per a person familiar with the matter at hand, Murry Gerber, an existing BlackRock board member who is also the former chief executive of EQT Corp, is set to become the lead independent director.

Thomas O’Brien, the former Chief Executive of PNC Financial Services Group, who has been the lead independent director, will not stand for re-election. The former Chief Executive of Merrill Lynch & Co, David Komansky will also not stand for re-election.

William Demchak, the CEO of PNC, a major shareholder of BlackRock, already sits on BlackRock’s board.

BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink has heavily emphasized on a technological approach towards investing: it is promoting Aladdin, an operating system that it maintains and that it licenses to its rivals for managing funds.

Fink, also BlackRock’s chairman, is attempting to reengineer the company’s funds to rely on data mining and advanced technologies to pick stocks.

Other money and asset managers have already taken notice. Their investment in engineering talent and in the acquisition of “robo-advice” tools has gone up.

“Throughout his career, Chuck has helped global corporations navigate a world being reshaped by technological advancement,” said Fink in a statement. “At BlackRock, technology is rapidly transforming how we invest, measure risk, distribute our products, and run our operations.”

BlackRock was managing assets worth $5 trillion at the end of 2016.

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