Alliance Trust appoints ex-journalist to board

Clare Dobie

Dundee-based investment trust company Alliance Trust has appointed former journalist Clare Dobie as an independent non-executive director.

The appointment follows a vow made in March by new Alliance Trust chairman Robert Smith to address the lack of gender diversity on the closed-end fund specialist’s plc board.

Dobie was a financial journalist before going into marketing — she ran her own marketing consultancy for ten years until 2015.

From 2001 to 2005 Dobie worked at GAM (formerly Global Asset Management) as group head of marketing and served on its executive business committee.

From 1993 to 2001 Dobie held a number of roles at Barclays Global Investors, including head of marketing.

Her earlier career included 15 years as a financial journalist with her last role being City Editor at The Independent for three years.

Dobie is currently a non-executive director of Aberdeen New Thai Investment Trust, F&C Capital and Income Investment Trust PLC and Schroder UK Mid Cap Fund.

Robert Smith, chair of Alliance Trust, said: “I am delighted that Clare is joining the board as she brings extensive knowledge of marketing and client service within asset management companies.

“Her skills and expertise in the investment trust sector and her early background in financial journalism provide an ideal complement to an already strong board.”

In March, following a traumatic year for Alliance Trust, the firm said its 2015 group revenue fell to £200.2 million from £273.9 million in 2014 and pre-tax profit plunged to £145 million from £228.5 million in 2014.

Alliance Trust has long been under pressure from US activist shareholder Elliott Advisors to restructure.

Previous chair Karin Forseke departed on January 1, 20016, and Katherine Garrett-Cox, chief executive of subsidiary Alliance Trust Investments (ATI), stood down as chief executive of ATI on March 11 this year.

Further, Susan Noble left the Alliance Trust plc board in February to become chairman of the Alliance Trust Investments subsidiary.

“I am acutely aware of the lack of gender diversity on the current board as a result of the recent changes,” said Smith in March.

“Alliance Trust has long been a leader in the area of board diversity, and this is an issue which I am determined to address at the earliest opportunity.”