Shareholders in GAM Holding named industry veteran Randel "Randy" Freeman as their pick for the Swiss money manager's next CEO, replacing Peter Sanderson and following months of deliberation over the future ownership of the firm.
NewGAM, an investor group that controls about 9.6% of GAM Holding's share capital, comprised of NewGAMe and Bruellan, said Mr. Freeman is expected to be appointed shortly after a extraordinary general meeting on or around Sept. 27, a Wednesday news release said. The appointment is subject to regulatory approvals.
Mr. Freeman was a member of the investment committee of European activist investor Sterling Strategic Value between 2017 and this year. He remains an adviser to the firm. He was CIO and CEO at Centaurus Capital, a European hedge fund that spun out of Banque Paribas in 2000. He sold the firm to Fortress Investment Group in 2014, becoming CIO of Fortress Centaurus Strategies and a director of Fortress' London business. He has also held roles in wealth management and money management in New York and Chicago.
Mr. Freeman's candidacy for CEO follows an agreement reached between GAM's board of directors and Rock Investment — the controlling shareholder of NewGAMe and owned by NJJ Holding — to provide 20 million Swiss francs ($23 million) in immediate short-term financing to cover GAM's liquidity needs.
GAM said in a statement on Tuesday that the short-term financing will remain until it is replaced with the proceeds of an about 25 million franc convertible bond to be issued by GAM.
Also in the Tuesday statement, GAM said the board of directors had agreed to stand down at the EGM. Mr. Sanderson is a member of the group management board. Rock will propose new directors at the EGM. "The current GAM board recommends to shareholders to approve the proposed board candidates of NewGAMe," the statement said.
The future ownership of GAM, which had 21.9 billion francs in investment management AUM as of June 30, has been the subject of much deliberation over recent months. U.K. manager Liontrust Asset Management had offered to acquire the business in May in a $120 million deal. The offer was met with some shareholder opposition and was declared "unsuccessful" on Tuesday.
"We are delighted Randy Freeman has agreed to be our candidate for CEO of GAM," Antoine Spillmann, CEO at partner at Bruellan and the investor group's proposed candidate for chairman of the board — replacing David Jacob — said in the NewGAMe release. "He 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."
A spokesman for GAM declined to comment. A spokeswoman for NewGAMe was unable to provide comment immediately.