It was announced this morning (27/11/2015) that Karin Forseke, Chair of Alliance Trust, will step down in January 2016. Gregor Stewart will take over as Chairman. Alliance Trust has been the focus of campaigns by Elliott Advisors and ShareSoc to get some changes made to this company so as to improve its performance (see http://www.sharesoc.org/alliance.html ) .
Although the company has recently announced some changes, and has been furiously buying back shares – presumably in an attempt to close the discount to NAV, there are still concerns about the structure of this company and the continuing high discount.
Now it just so happens that I personally asked the somewhat rhetorical question at the last AGM of this company in the Spring whether she had considered resigning. She ducked the question at the time but it did seem to me that this company needed a much more forceful Chairperson to counter the dominance of the CEO, Katherine Garrett-Cox. In addition there needed to be some tough decisions taken and quickly whereas Ms Forseke adopted a more consensual Swedish management style.
So one cannot but welcome this change at the top of Alliance Trust, and it is of course a good example of how shareholder activism can have a positive and substantial impact.