The group of GAM shareholders that helped torpedo Liontrust’s takeover has named its preferred choice to head the struggling Swiss asset manager today, as GAM prepares for a total boardroom clear-out following the collapse of the deal.
NewGAMe, which own 9.6 per cent of the firm and includes French tycoon Xavier Niel, said this morning veteran fund manager Randy Freeman would be its candidate for chief executive to replace Peter Sanderson.
The naming of a favoured boss comes one day after ailing fund manager GAM announced its entire board would be stepping down after failing to shepherd the firm through a takeover by London-listed Liontrust.
Shareholders are set to vote on replacements for the board in an emergency September meeting.
A veteran of the fund management business, Freeman helped grow fund management outfit Centaurus to a group with some $5bn assets under management and most recently served on the investment committee of one of Europe’s oldest investors, Sterling Strategic Value, between 2017 and 2023.
Antoine Spillmann, CEO and Partner at Bruellan and the investor group’s proposed candidate for chairman of GAM’s board, said Freeman is an “outstanding investor with significant management, client and marketing experience.”
“His deep understanding of the core fund management business is complemented by his hedge fund and alternatives experience, making him the perfect candidate to lead GAM, return the business to growth and create long-term value for all of GAM’s clients and other stakeholders,” he added.
After launching a £96m bid for GAM in May, Liontrust’s bid hit a campaign of pushback from NewGAMe who said the offer undervalued the firm. Liontrust only won the backing of only 33 per cent of investors by the extended deadline for the deal last week.
GAM, which is headquartered in Switzerland but has a presence in London, has been struggling to steady the ship since a Greensill-linked scandal in 2018. The scandal led to GAM being slapped with a £9.1m fine in 2022.
Assets under management have cratered by more than half in the last five years to just CHF68bn at the end of June, while its share price has plunged nearly 95 per cent during that period.