Alliance Trust hires former Morgan Grenfell chief as chair

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Former Morgan Grenfell Asset Management chief Robert Smith has been appointed chairman of the Alliance Trust board.

Subject to regulatory approval, Smith will replace Alliance Trust director Karin Forseke who stepped down as chair of the investment trust’s board in November. Smith will take up the role from 1 February.

Gregor Stewart will become deputy chairman of the board, while Karl Sternberg will be the senior independent director.

Smith was chief executive and then vice chairman of Morgan Grenfell Asset Management, latterly Deutsche Asset Management, between 1996 and 2002.

He is currently chairman of the UK Green Investment Bank and is non-executive director at Standard Bank Group.

Smith says: “I am looking forward to getting started and playing my part in delivering the changes that are necessary to return the trust to the levels of performance upon which it has earned its reputation and success.”

Stewart adds: “The board has been working hard on implementing the plans announced on 1st October 2015, which include creating separate boards for our savings platform and investment management subsidiaries. The board’s focus is on investment performance, on creating natural demand for our shares and on reducing the trust’s discount.”

Forseke stepped down from the trust on 1 January and Stewart took the role of interim chair while a replacement was found.

Alliance Trust announced on 1 October that is was undergoing a £6m cost-saving plan.

The changes included cutting fees, changing the asset allocation of the trust and separating out the investment management of the trust to make it more accountable. The company also created separate boards for Alliance Trust and Alliance Trust Investments.