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Columbia Management distribution executive leaving

(Reuters) - Columbia Management Investment Advisers LLC, a unit of Ameriprise Financial Inc , said on Friday that a top distribution executive was leaving the company.

Beth Brown, head of intermediary distribution at Columbia Management, which had $326 billion in assets under management at the end of 2011, will leave at the end of March, a company spokesman said.

It is the second big executive departure announced by Columbia Management in the past month. On February 16 Fidelity Investments said it had lured away Columbia Management's president of U.S. asset management, Michael Jones, to run its big institutional investment management arm.

Columbia Management spokesman Ryan Lund said the company is realigning some executive duties in response to Brown's departure.

"We have an experienced leadership team and we have taken the opportunity to integrate institutional sales and platform support within our business lines," Lund said.

Lund said Chris Thompson, who joined the company in 2010 from Putnam Investments to be head of investment products and marketing, also will lead Columbia's retail team.

Jeff Peters, head of the institutional business, will lead the subadvisory and the investment-only defined contribution groups.

And Chief Administration Officer Amy Unckless will lead the high net worth and 529 plan businesses.

Ameriprise acquired the long-term asset management business of Columbia Management from Bank of America Corp in April 2010.

(Reporting by Tim McLaughlin; Additional reporting by Jessica Toonkel in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Mark Porter)

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