Monday 10 June 2019 2:28 pm

Allied Minds boss steps down as it scraps bonus scheme after investor revolt

US tech incubator Allied Minds has announced the departure of boss Jill Smith, as growing pressure from investors pushed the firm to overhaul its management structure and scrap its bonus scheme.

Smith, who has served as president and chief executive for just over two years, has stepped down with immediate effect.

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She will be replaced by general counsel Michael Turner and chief financial officer Joseph Pignato, who will act as co-chief executives.

Allied Minds said the management overhaul was in line with its new strategy of maximizing shareholder returns, while halting investments in new companies.

The London-listed firm also said it will end its long-term incentive plan, cancelling outstanding bonuses and blocking future payouts to management and executive directors.

It comes as Allied Minds, which is backed by troubled fund manager Neil Woodford, faces growing pressure from shareholders to slash costs.

Activist investor Crystal Amber last month called for a break-up of the tech incubator, blasting the firm for its “absurd” cost base and “egregious” pay packets.

In February Smith agreed to reduce her salary for two years as part of the company’s efforts to cut costs by 40 per cent per, or between $5m (£3.9m) and $6m, every year.

Smith will continue to serve on the board of directors of subsidiary Federated Wireless as a representative of Allied Minds, the firm said.

“Given the narrower scope of our strategy going forward and the company’s cost reduction targets, Jill has decided to return to serving as a director on multiple boards,” said Allied Minds chairman Peter Dolan.

“We recognise and appreciate Jill’s accomplishments and contributions to Allied Minds and wish her continued success.”

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Woodford, whose flagship fund has suspended trading following a spike in investor redemptions, has reduced his stake in Allied Minds by five per cent. However, he still holds roughly 23 per cent of the company, according to a company filing.

Allied Minds said it had made good progress in its cost-cutting targets and plans to cut more jobs at its Boston headquarters.