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Legg Mason will lay off 120 corporate employees, including some in Baltimore

Legg Mason has cut its corporate workforce by 12 percent, laying off 120 people, including about 100 spread evenly between Baltimore, New York and Stamford, Conn.

The Baltimore-based money management firm eliminated jobs in its legal, finance and human resources departments and in the distribution operations of fund administration and product support, said Mary Athridge, a Legg Mason spokeswoman, in an email.

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Layoffs did not extend to investment roles, she said.

The company manages about $758 billion of investments across its global network of affiliates.

In a memo to employees late Thursday afternoon, CEO Joseph Sullivan said the reductions reflect a need in an evolving industry to “rethink how we deliver on our mission of investing.”

“Going forward, we will continue to challenge ourselves to be more efficient and effective, through innovation,” Sullivan said in the memo. “We will continue to collaborate in new and different ways, and we will continue to allocate resources to those areas that will enable us to differentiate ourselves in the eyes of our clients.”

The company expects to create new technology-driven roles but also to outsource some jobs for greater efficiency.

Legg Mason also announced a restructuring of it leadership and streamlining of its executive committee. Some executives will take on additional responsibilities, such as the human resources officer taking over real estate and facilities, while several executives will leave at the end of the year.

A new unit, Legg Mason Global Distribution, will combine the global marketing and products division with the global sales division.

The executives departing by year’s end include Fran Cashman, Legg Mason’s global head of marketing and communications; Tom Hoops, the firm’s head of business development; and John Kenney, the global head of affiliate strategic initiatives. The company announced previously that its chief administrative officer Ursula Schliessler was leaving.

The layoffs and other changes follow Monday’s announcement that activist investor Nelson Peltz, CEO of Trian Fund Management, had returned to Legg Mason’s board along with Ed Garden, Trian’s chief investment officer.

Trian Partners owns about 4.5 percent of Legg Mason’s outstanding common stock. Peltz is known for calling for cost cuts and other initiatives to boost a company’s share price.

Legg Mason stock, which closed Friday at $37.21 a share, is up more than 5% this week after the news of Peltz’s involvement came out.

This is Peltz’s second run at Legg Mason. He previously sat on the board from 2009 until 2014, and then sold his large stake in the company another large investor in 2016.

“Throughout our history, Legg Mason has adapted to confront tough challenges,” Sullivan said. “As part of our strategic restructuring, the steps we take today will position the company to succeed over the long-term--for our clients, our shareholders, our employees and our communities.”

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