Alliance Trust chairman to step down

Lesley Knox, the chairman of Alliance Trust, is to step down before the 2012 annual general meeting.

Alliance Trust, which has come under fire from activist investor Laxey Partners for its lagging share price, told shareholders this morning that Knox would leave in the next year.

Her departure follows ten years on the board and is part of the company’s succession planning, it said in a statement.

It is the first time Alliance Trust has announced her intention to depart.

Alliance Trust shareholders are meeting in Dundee today for the annual general meeting, at which the company will defend its approach to raising the share price in line with its net asset value.

Some critics have linked Knox to opposition to Laxey’s calls for a formal mechanism to control the share price discount, and notice of her departure may therefore smooth relations with investors.