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Press release from PR Newswire

Western Asset Management Announces Three Senior Appointments

Friday, November 19, 2010

Western Asset Management Announces Three Senior Appointments09:00 EST Friday, November 19, 2010PLANS TO GROW DEDICATED EFFORTS IN INSURANCE AND ADVISORY BUSINESS SEGMENTSPASADENA, Calif., Nov. 19, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Western Asset Management, the fixed income affiliate of Legg Mason, Inc. (NYSE: LM), today announced the appointment of three senior professionals to both broaden the firm's lines of business and deepen its professional staff.  The firm announced that it has appointed Louis DiFranco as Head of Insurance Services, with responsibility for leading and expanding its insurance business, which manages $52 billion for insurance clients as of September 30, 2010.   Mr. DiFranco joins Western Asset from BNY Mellon, where he worked for 11 years, most recently as an Executive Vice President responsible for the insurance, investment management and alternative-fund client practices. Prior to BNY Mellon, he worked with JP Morgan & Co. as the credit officer responsible for the insurance industry and at Deloitte & Touche as a senior auditor. He earned his bachelor's degree from Princeton University and his MBA from New York University's Stern School.The firm also announced the appointment of Powell Thurston as Head of Advisory Services to formalize its advisory business by building a dedicated effort to provide customized solutions for institutions in addressing complex issues related to fixed income instruments and derivatives.   Mr. Thurston joins Western Asset from more than a decade at PIMCO, where he built the firm's advisory business.   Prior to that, he was responsible for building the CDO and structured products business lines.    Prior to PIMCO, he was an economist focused on antitrust economics at Glass Oliver Economic Consultants.  He began his investment management career in client relations at Vanguard.  Mr. Thurston has an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Economics with Honors from the University of California at Irvine.  Finally, the firm announced that Christopher Orndorff, CFA, has joined Western Asset as a Senior Portfolio Manager on its generalist team, focusing on multi-sector and core/core full discretion portfolios. He will also be a member of the US Broad Markets Committee, which is responsible for setting macroeconomic strategies across US portfolios.  Mr. Orndorff joins Western after almost two decades at Payden & Rygel, where he was a Managing Principal and a member of the Executive Committee. Prior to Payden & Rygel, he was with the Northern Trust Company from 1985-1990.  He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BS from Miami University.James W. Hirschmann, CEO of Western Asset, commented, "Expanding our business with the insurance industry as a client segment is a top strategic priority for us.   As significant outsourcing of asset management in the insurance marketplace continues, we believe we are well positioned to offer clients solutions that suit their particular needs.  Furthermore, we believe that our existing insurance clients will benefit from our intensified effort in this highly specialized arena. Louis brings deep and broad expertise in the insurance industry with a strong history of solutions-oriented business management and growth."  Mr. Hirschmann continued, "As Western Asset broadens its lines of business to include advisory services, we saw a unique opportunity to add Powell Thurston, with a proven track record in building this capability, to our team. Institutions today want customized expertise on complex portfolio valuations, risk hedging, regulatory compliance, outsourcing key functions and balance sheet management.  We believe that Powell's skill set, combined with the capabilities of Western's global investment teams will be able to provide compelling value to institutions.  And, we are pleased to add a talented professional in Chris Orndorff, who has amassed extensive knowledge about the fixed income markets in his 25-year career."About Western AssetWestern Asset, a unit of Legg Mason, Inc. (NYSE: LM) is one of the world's premier fixed-income managers. With offices in Pasadena, New York, London, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sao Paulo, Western Asset offers institutional and retail clients a full range of fixed-income products. By devoting all of its resources to fixed-income, Western Asset is able to provide a full commitment to its clients in every area of the firm. Western Asset's long performance track record and global presence has them positioned to continue their commitment to excellence in fixed-income investment management and client service. As of September 30, 2010, Western Asset had $469 billion in assets under management.SOURCE Legg Mason, Inc.For further information: Mary Athridge for Western Asset, +1-212-805-6035, mkathridge@leggmason.com