Katherine Garrett-Cox is to step down from the board of Alliance Trust, one of the UK’s oldest investment firms, but continue as the chief executive after a long battle with an activist investor.
The Dundee-based wealth manager said that after consulting shareholders, it had decided to simplify its structure and make the board fully independent, staffed solely with non-executive directors. Garrett-Cox, one of the City’s most high profile women, will remain a director of the Alliance Trust Investments arm (ATI), with separate boards created for ATI and Alliance Trust Savings.
Garrett-Cox, paid £1.34m last year, has been under mounting pressure from shareholders over the trust’s underperformance. The US hedge fund Elliott Advisors, the wealth manager’s largest shareholder, has been pushing for change at the company, which spent £3m on its defence.
Karin Forseke, the company’s chair, said: “In the run-up to our annual meeting, many of our shareholders indicated that they sought change.The actions announced today, taken together, represent some of the biggest changes in our history and are designed to further improve shareholder value.”
The trust’s finance chief, Alan Trotter, is also leaving the firm “to seek to continue his career in a publicly listed company elsewhere”. Alliance Trust said it intended to focus on global equities and sell non-core investments, while reducing costs by £6m a year.
This article was written by Julia Kollewe, for theguardian.com on Thursday 1st October 2015 10.07 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010