Former chairman intervenes in row

Knox urges Alliance shareholders to reject Elliott’s plan

Lesley KnoxAlliance Trust’s former chairman Lesley Knox has criticised the rebel shareholder trying to install three nominees to the board.

Ms Knox has urged the Dundee-based company’s shareholders to vote against the move by activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors.

She said Elliott was not acting in the long-term interests of the trust which she chaired for eight years until 2012.

In a letter to a Sunday newspaper she wrote: “I very much doubt that Elliott’s time horizon is a long one, and do not believe it is aligned with why I am a shareholder in Alliance Trust.

“Its suggestion of a huge buyback at a narrow discount would only benefit those who wish to leave and would be detrimental to those who wish to continue as shareholders.”

New York-based Elliott wants to appoint Anthony Brooke, Peter Chambers and Rory MacNamara to the board to improve performance. It has urged shareholders to vote for the three at the annual meeting on 29 April.

But Alliance has disputed its claims on performance and has warned that Elliott will use them to exert influence.

Ms Knox added: “I am sure Elliott’s proposed candidates are reputable, but to even consider voting them on to the board I would need assurance that each of them is, and will continue to be, wholly independent, with no business relationship with Elliott or any other major shareholder, and will act in the interests of all long-term shareholders and not just those of Elliott.

“I would also like to know that they intend to invest their own money in the trust and, subject to the wishes of the shareholders and board, remain as directors for the maximum period, which is nine years.”

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