Baillie Gifford plans big change at top of firm

Baillie Gifford

Edinburgh-based fund management giant Baillie Gifford said on Friday its joint senior partner Charles Plowden will retire on April 30, 2021, after almost four decades at the firm.

Following Plowden’s retirement, Malcolm MacColl will become joint senior partner.

Baillie Gifford has assets under management and advice of almost £200 billion and its high-profile funds are major shareholders in prominent global companies including Tesla, Amazon, Tencent, Netflix and Alibaba.

The firm employs 1,317 people and is headquartered in Edinburgh with offices in Buenos Aires, Dublin, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Krakow, London, New York, Shanghai, Toronto and Zurich.

Andrew Telfer, fellow senior partner, said: “Charles joined Baillie Gifford 37 years ago and has been at the heart of the firm’s growth, notably in the UK Equities Team, the Global Alpha Strategy and as a leader of the whole investment department.

“This is a remarkable achievement in today’s age.

“Most importantly, during this period, he has generated excellent investment returns for clients.

“We are announcing Charles’s retirement a year in advance, to ensure a considerable period of transition before Malcolm takes up his new governance role as the firm’s joint senior partner. 

“This exemplifies well-organised succession planning, a key strength of Baillie Gifford’s partnership model which makes it possible for us to take a long-term approach.”

Plowden joined Baillie Gifford in 1983 and was an investment manager in the UK Equities Team for over 20 years, helping develop the firm’s institutional UK equity capabilities and latterly leading the team.

He has worked in the firm’s Global Alpha Strategy since its inception in 2005, and became joint senior partner the following year, with responsibility for the firm’s investment department.

In 2015, Plowden was made manager of the firm’s Monks Investment Trust.

“By next April I will have reached my 60th birthday and spent almost 38 years at Baillie Gifford, 15 of them as senior partner,” said Plowden. 

“While I have enjoyed every minute, it is time for me to move aside and allow others to step up.

“I am immensely proud of Baillie Gifford and have every confidence that the firm will continue to add significant value for its clients and build on its distinctive culture.”

Plowden will manage the Global Alpha Strategy, the Global Alpha Growth Fund and Monks until April 30, 2021, after which Spencer Adair will step up to become the lead manager of Monks.

Malcolm MacColl will continue as both manager of the Global Alpha Strategy and deputy manager of Monks.

MacColl joined Baillie Gifford in 1999 and has worked in both the UK Small Cap and North American teams. He became a partner in 2011 and deputy manager of Monks four years later.

As part of the transition, Helen Xiong will join the Global Alpha Strategy at the end of May 2020.

Xiong, who was recently promoted to partner at Baillie Gifford, has worked closely with the strategy for eight years.

Xiong remains joint manager of the Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust.

Dave Bujnowski, a senior analyst in Baillie Gifford’s US equity team based in New York, will replace Xiong as one of four managers on the Baillie Gifford American Fund on June 1, 2020.