ARK Invest founder and CEO Cathy Wood has stepped down from her role as portfolio manager at two of the investment management company’s exchange-traded funds. according to regulatory documentation.
William Scherer, who served as a Sales Manager at ARK since 2014has been appointed to manage the investments in place of Wood for the company’s two index funds, the ARK 3D Printing ETF (PRNT) and the ARK Israel Innovative Technology ETF (IZRL) the beginning of September.
The 3D printing-focused fund has a net worth of about $196.7 million, while ARK Israel has roughly $115.4 million in assets under management. Wood will continue to serve as chief investment officer and portfolio manager of the actively managed vehicles.
Ark confirmed the role change to Yahoo Finance but did not comment outside of the filing.
The handover of the roles from Wood to Scherer follows a series of high-level changes in ARK Invest’s leadership – moves that could hint at the early stages of a succession plan for ARK.
Until the promotion earlier this year of two analysts, Sam Korus and Nicholas Grose, to associate portfolio managers, Kathy Wood, 66, was the sole portfolio manager for all nine of ARK’s ETFs.
Earlier this month, the firm created a new position that was eventually filled by its director of research, Brett Winton, who was named the first ever “Chief Futurist” in ARK — a change that also sparked discussions Winton could be a potential successor to Wood.
ARK has drawn criticism over the scope of Wood’s responsibilities at the firm, as it lacks a successor in line in case she can no longer oversee operations.
“Exacerbating key person risk is a firm’s inability to develop and retain talent,” Morningstar’s Robbie Greengold claims in an April memo that also emphasized that none of Winton’s long industry experience includes portfolio management. “Many of his analysts have come and gone, and most of the remaining nine don’t have deep industry experience.”
According to his bio on ARK’s website, Scherer worked directly with ARK’s CIO, COO and research team to implement desired investment strategies and was responsible for managing the rebalances of ARK’s indexed portfolios since their inception.
The ARK 3D Printing ETF is down nearly 41% so far in 2022, and the ARK Israel Innovative Technology ETF is down nearly 38% year to date. Losses pale in comparison to ARK’s flagship Ark Innovation ETF (ARKK), which has decreased by nearly 60% in 2022.
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc