EMBATTLED fund manager Gartmore hired industry veteran Robert Kyprianou as a non-executive director yesterday as rumours swirled of a sell-off by its largest shareholder.
Kyprianou, whose CV includes stints at ABN Amro’s investment arm and Axa Framlington, will add weight to Gartmore’s board at a time of intense difficulty for the company. Gartmore has seen its share price nearly halve to 120p since floating last December and suffered heavy outflows in the first half as star manager Guillaume Rambourg resigned after breaking internal trading rules.
According to its initial public offering prospectus, Gartmore had always intended to bring in another director to balance its management line-up. But Kyprianou’s experience as part of a listed group will be useful as investment bankers suggest Gartmore’s main investor, private equity backer Hellman & Friedman, could offload its 24.3 per cent stake.
Two potential buyers linked to the holding by traders – asset managers Martin Currie and Neptune – have vigorously ruled themselves out of a transaction.
The move came as Gervais Williams, one of Gartmore’s longest serving fund managers quit the company after 17 years. Williams, who managed hedge funds, smaller companies funds and Irish funds, will leave later this month.
Headhunters said rivals would be now be looking to poach Rambourg’s star colleague, Roger Guy. Alexis Dogilewski of Exeter Executive Search said: “It doesn’t matter if someone is tied in with stock options, they’ll find a way around it by transferring options over. That’s the way business works in the City.”