Alliance Trust chair to leave

Dundee-based investment firm Alliance Trust, under pressure from US activist shareholder Elliott Advisors to restructure, said on Friday that its chair Karin Forseke (above) will leave her post on January 1, 2016.

Alastair Kerr, senior independent director, will also step down from the board of the closed end fund specialist.

The moves follow big changes at Alliance Trust in October which included Katherine Garrett-Cox stepping down as chief executive of Alliance’s parent company but remaining as boss of its fund management subsidiary Alliance Trust Investments.

Following the intervention by Elliott, which owns more than 10% of Alliance Trust’s shares, the $4 billion investment trust specialist said it would reorganize its governance structure to create a wholly independent board.

As part of that process, Alliance Trust said Forseke believes that now is the appropriate time for her to step down.

Gregor Stewart, a non-executive director of Alliance Trust since December 2014, will become interim chair.

Karl Sternberg will become senior independent director and lead the search for an external candidate to become the new chair.

“We are making good progress implementing the changes announced in October to accelerate our long-term strategy and we expect the new governance structure to be in place in early 2016,” said Forseke.

“Alongside the new non-executive only board of the Trust, excellent independent boards will be in place to oversee the development of Alliance Trust Investments and Alliance Trust Savings. As these changes are implemented, the chair of the Trust’s role will change and as a result I believe now is the right time for me to move on.”

Kerr said: “I would like to thank Karin for her hard work and dedication during her time as chair. While it has been a challenging period, the Trust has generated a total shareholder return of 51%, well ahead of the MSCI All Country World Index total return of 43.4%. The Trust has undergone significant change under her leadership and is well-placed to continue to deliver returns for all its shareholders.”

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