BlackRock has been expanding its Asia headcount in areas including alternatives, sales and operations, but it has also seen departures. Albert Yeh left his post in January as Asia-Pacific chief operating officer of iShares, the firm's exchange-traded funds arm.

He will return to the US for personal reasons, says a spokesman. In the interim, Hilary Bodin has relocated from the firm’s London office to join iShares in Hong Kong. She was previously BlackRock's head of strategic change management for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Bodin is responsible for developing and executing iShares’ strategy in the region, managing core business processes and overseeing the business’s operational infrastructure. She reports to Jane Leung, Asia-Pacific head of iShares, as did Yeh.

BlackRock declined to say whether it would name a replacement for Yeh on a permanent basis or who has taken over Bodin's previous role.

AsianInvestor was also unable to ascertain by press time whether Yeh has another position lined up.

Before starting at BlackRock in August 2011, as first reported by AsianInvestor, Yeh was Asia COO for equities at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, also in Hong Kong. He was with Merrill Lynch for 11 years and spent time as chief administrative officer of the global institutional sales teams for fixed income and equities in New York and as COO for fixed income, currencies and commodities in Tokyo, among other roles.

Before joining Merrill, Yeh was a principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York. He started his career at JP Morgan in fixed-income sales and trading, in roles across New York, Chicago and Mexico City.

iShares is the second biggest ETF provider in Asia-Pacific by assets (after State Street Global Advisors), with $33.7 billion as of December 31.

The business has seen other senior management changes in the past year or so, with the Asia-Pacific head role passing to Leung from Nick Good in February last year and Sandra Lee leaving her post as Asia ex-Japan head of sales in August.