Robert Smith steps down at Alliance Trust

Robert Smith

Dundee-based investment firm Alliance Trust, which appointed external asset managers Willis Towers Watson in 2017, said on Thursday that Scottish boardroom veteran Robert Smith has decided to step down as chairman with immediate effect.

Smith is succeeded by the Trust’s deputy chairman Gregor Stewart.

On August 2, Smith was appointed chair of the board at Scottish Enterprise.  

Smith, 75, is also chair of British Business Bank, IMI plc, Forth Ports Ltd and Clyde Gateway.

He was chair of Weir Group until 2013 and chair of SSE until 2015.  

Alliance Trust plc manages assets of around £3 billion and has a stock market value of about £2.6 billion.

In a stock exchange statement, Alliance Trust said: “Lord Smith, who joined the Trust on 3 February 2016, has successfully led the board through a period of significant change, during which the Trust has been transformed into a clearly focused global equity investment trust.

“During his tenure, the Trust has sold its in-house investment management business, Alliance Trust Investments; appointed Willis Towers Watson to manage its portfolio; sold its investment platform, Alliance Trust Savings; and, disposed of the vast majority of its mineral rights and private equity investments.

“With Gregor Stewart’s appointment as chairman, the role of deputy chairman will cease.

Smith said: “I feel very privileged to have served as chairman of Alliance Trust which has a long and proud history and would like to thank all its stakeholders for their support during my tenure as chairman.

“As we have now completed the simplification of the Trust, I am pleased to be able to hand over to Gregor.

“Like all on the board, he has played a leading role in the changes implemented by the board during the past three and half eventful years.

“These changes have put the Trust in a strong position to deliver attractive returns to shareholders for generations to come.”

Gregor Stewart said: “Together with my colleagues, I would like to thank Robert for his hard work and dedication during his time as chair and for guiding the Trust during this period of major change.

“I am delighted to take up the role of chairman. I will do my very best to look to ensure that we continue to deliver value for our shareholders.”