Baillie Gifford’s Edinburgh Worldwide in board changes

Baillie Gifford HQ in Edinburgh

Baillie Gifford’s £700 million Edinburgh Worldwide Investment Trust has announced big changes to its board.

Private equity expert Jonathan Simpson-Dent will succeed Henry Strutt as chairman and entrepreneur Jane McCracken will succeed Helen James as the fund’s senior independent director.

Edinburgh Worldwide’s marketing material said it aims for capital growth from a global portfolio of “initially immature entrepreneurial companies” typically with a market capitalisation of less than $5 billion at the moment of initial investment, which are believed to offer long-term growth potential.

The fund’s biggest recent investments have included Space Exploration Technologies, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, PsiQuantum, Ocado, AeroVironment, Zillow, Exact Sciences, Oxford Nanopore Tech, MarketAxess and Schrödinger.

Edinburgh Worldwide’s fund managers are Douglas Brodie, Svetlana Viteva and Luke Ward.

As of November 30, 2023, over three years, Edinburgh Worldwide’s share price was down 57.2% and its net asset value (NAV) was down 49.8%. Over 10 years, the fund’s share price was up 77% while its NAV was up 87.3%.

In a stock exchange statement, Edinburgh Worldwide said: “As part of the ongoing process of board succession, the company announces that Henry Strutt, chairman, will be retiring from the board at the conclusion of the company’s forthcoming Annual General Meeting.

“Mr Strutt joined the board in 2011 and became chairman in 2017. It is intended that Jonathan Simpson-Dent, a seasoned private equity investor with extensive experience of chairing company boards, will replace him as chairman.

“In addition, Helen James will be standing down as the company’s senior independent director at the conclusion of the forthcoming Annual General Meeting and will not be standing for re-election to the board in 2025.

“Jane McCracken, who has enjoyed a successful career as an entrepreneur, advisor and investor in venture capital backed high growth technology and healthcare businesses in the UK and US, will replace her as senior independent director.”

Simpson-Dent has spent the majority of his career running entrepreneurial private equity and listed mid-cap international growth businesses across multiple sectors.

He currently chairs three private equity portfolio companies: Danx Carousel Group, Andwis Group and Easby Group. He has also previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, McKinsey & Company and PepsiCo. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

McCracken has spent her career working with high growth technology businesses based in the US and UK as an entrepreneur, equity investor, board member and advisor.

Her experience covers a variety of areas including enterprise software, e-commerce, fintech, digital health and clinical research.

Most recently, she served as a Research Faculty member and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, and currently is the Chief Growth Officer for Corps Team LLC. She is also a non-executive director of Radyus Research LLC.