Activist investor Edward Bramson will step down from his role as interim CEO of the £360m Electra investment trust at its annual general meeting in March 2018, it was announced this morning.
Bramson will remain as a non-executive director, but the duties of chief executive will be split between chairman Neil Johnson and CFO Gavin Manson.
Sherborne Investors, which is managed by Bramson, remains Electra's largest shareholder, with a stake of just under 30%.
Bramson had been building his position in the trust through his firm Sherborne Investors for many years, first disclosing a 10% stake in March 2014.
As the stake grew, he also made several attempts to join the board, finally gaining a place in late 2015. He was made interim CEO of the trust in May 2016.
The activist investor's involvement promoted a lengthy strategic review of the trust, with the second phase recently completed.
This led to a number of changes, including the termination of the trust's management contract with Electra Partners (now renamed Epiris) and the decision to start returning cash to investors.
Electra Private Equity (which will be renamed Electra) has been paying an exceptional level of special dividends over the last 12 months, which has resulted in a significant fall in market cap from almost £2bn at the start of 2016 to just £360m today.
Electra's board also said today in its annual results that its strategic review confirmed its view that a listed closed-ended fund structure is not optimal for private equity investment.
As a result, the company is engaging with the UK Listing Authority to consider reclassification as a corporate group. Shareholders will be given the opportunity to vote on the implementation of the board's recommendations in due course.
"The board believes that should the listing classification change then benefits related to realisation of assets currently provided by investment trust tax status are expected to be maintained under the Substantial Shareholding Exemption," it said.
"In addition, the board will aim to simplify the group and underlying partnership structures, realising further cost and efficiency benefits."
Meanwhile, the trust returned 21% in share price terms for the year to 30 September while its NAV per share was up 9%, versus a 14% rise for the FTSE 250 over the period.
Commenting on the results, Neil Johnson, chairman of Electra Private Equity, said: "I am pleased to report on a year that has seen the company take great strides in defining and implementing its future strategy whilst continuing to deliver excellent financial returns for our shareholders.
"The transition from our former external manager is complete and we now have operating and governance structures in place that give the executive team the ability to manage the delivery of our strategy, with full accountability to the board.
"Following the second phase of our strategic review, we have been able to add more clarity around the future capital deployment and corporate structure of the company focused on optimising investment returns.
"We will make continued progress in the coming year and look forward with confidence to working with the management teams of our portfolio companies to deliver continued shareholder value.
"On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Edward Bramson for his commitment and dedication during his tenure as interim CEO and look forward to continuing to work with him in his non-executive role from March."
However, investment trust analysts at Numis said the company's long-term strategy "is still somewhat ambiguous, in our view".
"If the plan is simply to wind-up following a return of capital, then it would seem to make little sense to continue with the change in listing to become a holding company."
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