Due to an unexpected “entrepreneurial opportunity that was too attractive to pass up,” Legg Mason has lost its CFO C.J. Daley to a privately held asset manager.

While the name of Daley’s new firm is not included in the announcement, Artisan Partners said yesterday that the 22-year Legg Mason veteran would join its team as its new CFO and managing director July 26.

With its new appointment, Artisan CEO Eric Colson explained that the hiring of Daley serves as “confirmation” that the firm is a “global, talent-focused business,” the July 8 press release stated.

In commenting on his departure from Legg Mason, Daley expressed he has been very fortunate to work at the firm for nearly two decades.

“I will leave Legg Mason with many fond memories and the satisfaction that it is financially strong, operating well, and poised for future growth," Daley said.

Terrence Murphy, the chief operating officer for the Baltimore-based firm’s affiliate ClearBridge Advisors, will serve on an interim basis until a permanent successor is named, the July 7 press release said.

Mark Fetting, chairman and CEO of Legg Mason, said in the statement that he appreciated Daley’s “service and dedication” and wished him well.

Also, he stated that Murphy, a 21-year veteran and former Citigroup Asset Management CFO, was suitable for the role due to his “deep knowledge about Legg Mason and the asset management business.”

Murphy joined predecessor firm Citigroup Asset Management in 2000 as director of planning and analysis. He became chief financial officer in 2005. From 1997 through 2000, Murphy was with Citigroup's corporate and investment bank where he was the business controller for various products, including ABS lending, project finance and the Treasury desk.

His previous positions include business controller for loan syndication and securitization at NatWest Bank's commercial lending division and a financial analyst at Capital Cities.

Legg Mason said it is in the process of engaging an executive search firm to identify a permanent CFO, and will consider internal and external candidates.

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