Alain Grisay, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) managing director who later oversaw a series of mergers as chief executive officer at F&C Asset Management Plc, operator of the U.K.’s oldest investment fund, has died. He was 59.
He died over the weekend, according to a statement from Darty Plc, a London-based home-appliance retailer of which Grisay was a nonexecutive director. No cause was given. He lived in London for almost three decades.
The Belgian-born fund manager who spent 22 years at JPMorgan and raced a 1931 Invicta sports car as a hobby, moved through the ranks of the New York-based investment bank, eventually heading its European fixed-income division, according to a 2010 article in the Financial Times. In 2001, he joined F&C as head of its European institutional business in London and was CEO from 2006 to 2012.
Last week, Bank of Montreal agreed to buy the company for 708 million pounds ($1.2 billion).
F&C traces its roots to 1868, when Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust became the world’s first publicly listed pooled investment vehicle, according to F&C’s website. F&C Management became a stand-alone asset manager in 1972 to oversee the portfolio of Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust. The parent company gained its stock listing in 2004.
“Alain was a visionary executive and business leader,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “Alain will be sadly missed by all of us who had the privilege of both knowing him and of working together.”
After Grisay’s appointment as CEO, he presided over F&C’s merger with real-estate investment firm REIT Asset Management in 2008; its breakup the following year with U.K. life insurer Friends Provident Plc, which distributed its 52 percent stake in F&C to shareholders; and the purchase of Thames River Capital in 2010. He also supervised F&C’s agreement to start a joint-venture in China with Hua Xia Bank.
Grisay stepped down in 2012, handing over management duties to Edward Bramson, founder of activist shareholding company, Sherborne Investors LLC, who replaced Nick MacAndrew as F&C chairman in 2011. Bramson had criticized F&C’s costs, levels of debt and acquisitions. Grisay had urged investors to reject Sherborne’s plans to develop a new strategy for the company.
In a statement on Grisay’s departure, Bramson said the former CEO had “achieved the successful acquisition of Thames River and steered the company through the most tumultuous period of market upheaval for 60 years.”
A self-described Anglophile, Grisay shook up F&C by removing six layers of management, reduced the number of investment committees and transferred some of the powers of the chief investment officer to the fund managers themselves, according to a 2006 profile in the U.K.’s Independent newspaper.
Alain Leopold Grisay was born on April 5, 1954, according to Who’s Who of Company Directors. He earned a master’s in law from the University of Louvain in Belgium, and a Master of Arts degree in international affairs from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the Independent said.
Grisay joined J.P. Morgan & Co. in 1979 as a financial analyst in New York. In 2000, the bank merged with Chase Manhattan Corp. to become JPMorgan Chase.
After moving to F&C, Grisay became deputy CEO and chairman of the company’s Dutch unit, where he remained until 2004, when F&C merged with the U.K. asset-management company Isis.
“It required some reasonably tough management to sort that out,” Grisay said of the Isis merger, according to the Financial Times. “I was asked to run the business in 2006 with a clear view to clean up the damage.”
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