Alliance Trust appoints board directors after activist battle


Alliance Trust has appointed two board members, ending its shareholder wrangle with activist investors Elliott Investors.

Former Ignis Asset Management chief executive Chris Samuel will join the board, joined by Karl Sternberg, a founding partner of Oxford Investment Partners.

To make room for the new hires current directors John Hylands and senior independent director Alastair Kerr will retire.

The new appointments come after a public dispute between Alliance Trust and its largest investor Elliott Investors, which cost Alliance Trust £3m. Elliott Investors wanted to place three new independent non-executive directors on the firm’s board.

A ceasefire was called in April ahead of the AGM, with Alliance Trust agreeing to appoint two of Elliott’s candidates: former SG Warburg executive Anthony Brooke and former Morgan Grenfell corporate financier Rory Macnamara.

Together with the new appointments, at the 2016 AGM five of the nine board members will have been appointed since 2014.

Alliance Trust chair Karin Forseke says: “These appointments follow extensive consultation with our major shareholders. We remain fully committed to delivering measures that will address the feedback we have received from our shareholders.”

Samuel left Ignis in 2009 when it was sold to Standard Life Investments. He is currently a director of the JP Morgan Japanese Investment Trust, and has previously worked at Gartmore, Hill Samuel and Cambridge Place Investment Management.

Sternberg left Oxford Investment Partners in 2013. He is currently a director on a number of investment trust boards, and will become senior independent director at Alliance Trust.