Executive moves, week of July 26, 2010

Pioneer loses head of U.S. institutional business

Asset management firm Pioneer Investments is seeing more departures as a possible sale looms.

Jack O’Connor, head of Pioneer’s U.S. institutional business, was scheduled to leave after last Friday. He reportedly will begin a new role at a rival fund firm next month.

Pioneer spokesman Geoff Smith confirmed the departure, saying that O’Connor is leaving to “pursue another opportunity in the institutional market. His replacement will be named shortly.”

O’Connor’s departure is the latest for Pioneer, following that of CTO Stan Wasilauski and Chris Chapin, vice president of technology.

Boston-based Pioneer has $250 billion in global assets under management, including $62 billion in the United States. In May, parent UniCredit Group announced it was considering options for Pioneer, including a possible sale.

While the auction is not expected to officially start until September, UniCredit is having problems getting bids for all of Pioneer, one fund executive says. The Italian bank wants to sell all of Pioneer but several bidders, such as MFS Investment Management, are only interested in the U.S. operations, according to sources.

“Pioneer might have to be sold in parts,” one source says. —Luisa Beltran

Connors departs from USVP

Tim Connors has left U.S. Venture Partners, which he first joined nearly a decade ago. He’s no longer listed on the firm’s website, although a cached version shows that recent board seats include 4info.net, Blekko.com, Guidewire Software, Media6Degrees.com, M-Factor.com and Right90.com.

Reportedly, Connors is forming a new firm focused on early stage investments in business and consumer Internet services, according to VentureWire, which did not provide additional details.

Witheiler heads to Flybridge

Flybridge Capital Partners has promoted Matt Witheiler from senior associate to principal. He joined the firm two years ago, and sits on the board of The Capital Network.

Occhiogrosso joins Investor Growth Capital

Neill Occhiogrosso has joined Investor Growth Capital as a New York-based vice president. He had spent the past four years with Highland Capital Partners, most recently as a Boston-area principal.

Haden returns to USC

Pat Haden is stepping down as a partner with Los Angeles-based private equity firm Riordan Lewis & Haden to become athletic director at the University of Southern California. Haden is a former USC and Los Angeles Rams quarterback. He will remain an investor in RHL funds and on the board of portfolio company Apothecary Shops.

Doron joins Silver Lake

Yuda Doron has joined Silver Lake Sumeru as an Israel-based senior advisor. He is a former Computer Associates executive and most recently served as an angel investor and consultant.

SK Capital adds two

Aaron Davenport and Jim Marden have joined SK Capital Partners as managing directors. They previously were health care-focused partners with Arsenal Capital Partners.

FirstMark boosts staff

Andy Macdonald, Nick Marsh and Scott Switzer have joined FirstMark Capital as venture partners. Macdonald is president of CoreLogix’s investigative and litigation services unit, Marsh co-founded Cosi and Switzer founded OpenX.