Alliance Trust CEO wins prestigious businesswoman award

Katherine Garret-Cox
Katherine Garret-Cox

Katherine Garrett-Cox, the chief executive of Dundee-based investment firm Alliance Trust, has been announced as the winner of the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award 2015.

The award celebrates entrepreneurial women who have made a significant contribution to business.

News of Ms Garrett-Cox’s award comes just two weeks after she was forced into a chastening public climbdown in the face of a major shareholder challenge at the 127 year-old trust.

On receiving the accolade, which was created as a tribute to Madame Clicquot, who took control of her family’s champagne firm after being widowed in the early 1800s, aged 27, Ms Garrett-Cox said: “I was completely delighted to be considered, but to have won the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award is a massive honour.

“So many exceptional women have been recognised over its 43-year history and I’m proud to be able to celebrate and shine a light on female success in financial services.

Madame Clicquot
Madame Clicquot

“Madame Clicquot was one of the world’s first female business leaders and her passion and spirit is still relevant and serves as an inspiration to me as well as others today.”

Alliance Trust, which manages assets worth £6.4bn, avoided a showdown with its biggest shareholder after a last-minute compromise over boardroom appointments.

Rebel investor Elliott Advisors had called for three of its nominees to be elected to the board at the trust’s annual general meeting, after claiming the company was under-performing.

But a deal was reached after Alliance agreed to appoint two Elliott nominees.

Speaking in the wake of her award, Ms Garrett-Cox played down the Elliott saga that resulted in the Trust’s major investor agreeing to a year-long truce but demanding improved performance.

She said she was feeling “really positive about the future”.

“Show me a business and a business leader that hasn’t had a challenge throughout their career. I think they would be a very rare beast indeed,” she said.

“I think the key thing is how you behave…it’s how you actually respond. And it is about looking to the future.

“There’s no doubt we’ve received a fair amount of media attention recently, but for me, I’m utterly delighted to accept this award on behalf of all of my colleagues at Alliance Trust, in recognition of the hard work we’ve all been putting in over the last eight years.

“I think the future is very bright indeed.”

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