Alliance Trust Chairman to Step Down After Hedge Fund Battle

Alliance Trust Plc Chairman Karin Forseke will step down from the board after helping to lead a six-week battle against hedge fund Elliott Advisors who pushed to initiate a restructuring of the 127-year-old Scottish investment trust.

Gregor Stewart, a non-executive director, will take the position of interim chairman when Forseke’s move becomes effective on Jan. 1, the Dundee, Scotland-based money manager said in a statement on Friday. Forseke, who has previously sat on the board of the Financial Services Authority, has been chairman of Alliance Trust since April 2012.

The move comes after Katherine Garrett-Cox stepped down as chief executive officer of the firm and Chief Financial Officer Alan Trotter decided to leave as the board bowed to pressure from Elliott and became completely non-executive in October. Both Forseke and the CEO were confronted by angry shareholders in April after spending 3 million pounds ($4.5 million) fighting the New York-based hedge fund, its largest investor.

The restructuring in October included cost cuts and share buybacks to narrow the discount of the stock to its net asset value. Since Elliott first began to agitate in March, the discount has narrowed to 9.6 percent from about 14 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The stock has climbed 6.6 percent this year.

The board also set a new mandate for Alliance Trust to invest only in global equities and sell unwanted assets including fixed income and real estate.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE