Star Fund Manager Bill Miller to Exit Legg Mason's Value Trust

After more than three decades on the job, star fund manager Bill Miller announced on Thursday he will step down as manager of Legg Mason's (NYSE:LM) Value Trust mutual fund in April.

Miller, who had been either co- or sole portfolio manager of the Value Trust since its inception in 1982 but has struggled of late, will be replaced by Sam Peters, a Legg Mason veteran since 2005 and the fund’s co-portfolio manager. Peters will also assume Miller’s chief investment officer title.

"We have had a long and thoughtful transition process going back more than six years. We recognized Sam as a potential portfolio manager for Value Trust when we hired him in 2005, then observed his steady hand during the 2008 financial crisis,” Miller said in a statement. “Sam's passion for investing, his temperament, competitive nature, and his intellectual curiosity will serve our clients well.”

Miller, who began at Legg Mason as director of research in October 1981, said he will stay on as the Baltimore-based company’s chairman.

Before he signed up with Legg Mason, Peters worked as a banking analyst and portfolio manager at Fidelity Management & Research. He ran a number of funds, including ones focused on health care, electronics and banking.

“I look forward to the challenge,” Peters said. “We know we will be judged by the quality of the performance we deliver to our clients and shareholders, and that's where we're focused. As Bill has said many times, we can promise no one will work harder for our clients than our investment team."

Shares of Legg Mason declined 1.49% to $25.17 Thursday morning, underperforming a 0.68% slide on the S&P 500.