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AllianceBernstein exec says CEO replaced due to 'personality,' not strategy

AXA's decision to oust AllianceBernstein's CEO and reshape its board stemmed more from a matter of style than any worries over the company's "strategy or tactics," according to one of the asset manager's top executives.

AllianceBernstein Holding LP and AllianceBernstein LP on May 1 surprised industry analysts when it announced that chairman and CEO Peter Kraus had been terminated, effective immediately. Seth Bernstein assumed the roles of president and CEO, while Robert Zoellick was named board chairman. The asset manager also saw significant turnover on its board, with most of its previous directors replaced by individuals with close ties to AXA, AllianceBernstein's majority shareholder.

Despite the shakeup, AllianceBernstein COO James Gingrich during a presentation at a Keefe Bruyette & Woods conference said the company is not likely to make any major strategic changes.

"The fundamental issue was really one of style and of personality," he said of Kraus' dismissal.

Thus far in his tenure at the helm, Bernstein is spending time with both senior and junior members of the company and has engaged with a number of major clients and consultants, Gingrich said.