Economy Alliance Trust chairwoman Karin Forseke resigns

Alliance Trust chairwoman Karin Forseke resigns

Karin Forseke, chairwoman of embattled British investment firm Alliance Trust.
Karin Forseke, chairwoman of embattled British investment firm Alliance Trust.

Karin Forseke, chairwoman of embattled British investment firm Alliance Trust (ATST.L), said on Friday she was stepping down from her role on January 1, as the company implements a major overhaul following pressure from activist investor Elliott Advisors.

Gregor Stewart, a non-executive director of Alliance Trust, will take on the role of interim chair until a new chair is chosen.

It follows an announcement in October that the Trust would implement “significant changes” to deliver better performance, partly by creating a wholly indepenent board.

“We are making good progress implementing changes announced in October to accelerate our long-term strategy and we expect the new governance structure to be in place in early 2016,” Forseke said in a statement.

Katherine Garrett-Cox, chief executive of the trust said last month she was resigning her position on the trust’s board to focus on tackling the firm’s underperformance, in the aftermath of the bitter spat with its top shareholder Elliott.

Alastair Kerr, senior independent director, will also stand down from the board on January 1, earlier than planned. Karl Sternberg will take on his role and lead the search for a new external candidate to chair the board.

News of Forseke’s imminent departure comes as a blow to leaders of a nationwide campaign for greater female representation on the boards of British companies.

The Davies Report on Women on Boards published in October showed that there were more women on the boards of companies listed in the FTSE 350 index <0#.FTLC> than ever before, with representation of women more than doubling since 2011 – now at 26.1 percent on FTSE 100 boards <0#.FTS4> and 19.6 percent on mid-cap FTSE 250 <0#.FTMC> boards.

There are no all-male boards in the FTSE 100 and only 15 in the FTSE 250, the report showed, but there are still just a handful of FTSE 100 female CEOs and two chairwomen.