Alliance Trust appoints ex-Ignis chief executive to Board

Alliance Trust appoints ex-Ignis chief executive to Board

Alliance Trust has appointed former Ignis chief executive Chris Samuel and Karl Sternberg, a founding partner of Oxford Investment Partners, to its board as non-executive directors with immediate effect.

Two of the company’s current directors, John Hylands and senior independent director Alastair Kerr, will retire from the board at the annual general meeting in May 2016. At this point it is intended that Mr Sternberg will take on the role of senior independent director.

The new additions follow a lengthy battle with activist investor Elliott Advisors earlier this year who called for the appointment of three new non-executive directors ahead of this year’s annual general meeting. In the end a compromise was reached with two of the three directors proposed by Elliott added to the board.

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Alliance Trust confirmed the new appointments were made “following consultation with our largest shareholders”, and that from May 2016 five of the nine serving board directors will have been appointed since 2014.

Elliott Advisors recently upped its stake in the investment trust to approximately 14 per cent, although as part of the deal agreed in April the firm pledged it would “not call a general meeting or seek to agitate against the company, its board or management publicly until after the company’s 2016 AGM at the earliest”.

Karin Forseke, chair of Alliance Trust, said: “Investment is at the heart of Alliance Trust and is the key to our future success and I believe their skills and expertise are the ideal complement to an already strong board.

“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.”