Garrett-Cox exits Alliance after Elliott’s victory

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Alliance Trust’s former boss Katherine Garrett-Cox is leaving the Scottish firm for good after she was made redundant from her role running its fund-management arm following a bruising battle with a Wall Street hedge fund. 

Garrett-Cox, one of the most high-profile fund managers of the past decade, will walk away with a handsome payoff equivalent to a year’s pay — worth around £1.4 million last year — when she leaves Alliance Trust Investments (ATI) on March 11, and could get even more under a contract she signed on becoming chief executive in 2008. 

The chief executive role at ATI will be abolished after her departure.

Director Ramsay Urquhart will become the most-senior ranking operational boss at the group while Peter Michaelis becomes the top-ranking investment manager. 

“I leave Alliance Trust Investments with a strong team who are already delivering improved investment returns and driving down costs,” Garrett-Cox said. 

Her exit follows a string of defeats inflicted by US activist shareholder Elliott Advisors, led by hedge-fund tycoon Paul Singer, after it prevailed in a war to boot off directors sitting on the trust’s board last year. 

The final nail in the coffin came with the exit of Alliance’s former chairman — and Garrett-Cox’s closest ally — Karin Forseke in December.

She was replaced by former banker Lord Smith of Kelvin, who took the chairman’s reins this month.  He said the chief executive role at ATI had “changed significantly”. 

“This won’t come as a huge shock to anyone,” Numis analyst Charles Cade said, adding her departure was inenvitable given the trust is trying to shrink costs. 

Garrett-Cox led Alliance Trust until October when she was bumped down to run ATI. 

The move came in the wake of a settlement with Elliott — which has a significant holding in ATI — back in April to abolish executive positions at the listed entity.

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February 16, 2016 |
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