With Gross out at Pimco, who's the next bond king?

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Vanguard's Bogle: Bill Gross is real deal

If Bill Gross still can be called "the bond king," then there's at least a significant amount of tarnish on the crown.

While the Pimco founder's stunning departure from the bond giant—the firm he founded 43 years ago—may ease his personal stress load, it does little to burnish his image.

In going to Janus Capital Group, Gross will manage a fund at a firm less than one-tenth the size of his old company. He leaves amid a trail of embarrassing headlines, weak performance and huge investor outflows. That's not to mention a swirl of reports that he was about to be fired for erratic behavior.

For the markets, then, the question turns to who will be the next to wear the crown of bond king. At 70 years old, Gross was in the waning days of his reign anyway, but the move announced Friday puts a bit more urgency to see who will be his successor not only at Pimco but also as a widely followed voice in the broader fixed income market.