The woman once nicknamed Katherine the Great for her achievements in the UK fund-management industry is to leave her £1.4million a year post at Alliance Trust after more than seven turbulent years at the helm of the Scottish investment company.
Under-pressure boss Katherine Garrett-Cox will step down as Alliance Trust Investments (ATI) chief executive and leave the group on March 11, the Dundee-based firm announced yesterday.
She earned £1.4million last year and is now in line for a hefty payout in compensation for loss of office.
Operational responsibilities will be handed to ATI managing director Ramsay Urquart, while other duties of the chief executive will be “reassigned”.
Ms Garrett-Cox joined Alliance as chief investment officer in 2007, becoming group CEO a year later.
She left the main group board in October following a high-profile dispute with activist investor Elliott Advisors, which had criticised the company’s performance.
In a statement from Alliance Trust yesterday, Ms Garrett-Cox said: “It has been an honour to have had the opportunity to represent and protect the long-term interests of so many shareholders and to have been a guardian of the trust’s historic purpose of investing for generations.”
Alliance Trust chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin said the firm was currently going through “significant change to improve both its operating performance and investment returns”.
He added: “It has always had investment expertise at its heart and Katherine has done much over the past nine years to refocus the investment portfolio on its traditional strengths in global equities.”
Karin Forseke stepped down from her role as chairman last month after saying it was the “right time” to go.
Ms Garrett-Cox picked up incentive payments totalling £955,000 on joining the firm from Morley Fund Management in 2007.
She later told the Press and Journal she had “put my money where my mouth is” by investing in Alliance Trust, shrugging off the attention that came her way after her “golden hello”.
Other highlights of her time at the company as one of only a few high-profile women chief executives in the finance industry include her dismissal of Europe’s efforts to resolve its debt crisis as “bailout botox”.