Chief executive of Swiss asset management giant GAM Alexander Friedman is under increasing pressure from key shareholders, following a series of crises that have hit the firm since he took up the role in 2014, according to reports.
Friedman's tenure has overseen a profits warning caused by an unsuccessful acquisition, a faltering share price and, most recently, from the suspension of Tim Haywood.
According to the Financial Times, Friedman has in the last few days met with GAM investors, including Silchester International Investors, T. Rowe Price and Kiltearn Partners, which hold a quarter of its shares.
GAM, which in July warned of a severe writedown of its 2016 purchase of UK hedge fund Cantab, opted to suspend absolute return bonds fund manager Haywood following and internal probe, which ultimately forced the group to suspend the CHF11bn (£8.5bn) fund after a flood of redemptions.
Asked whether it was happy with the handling of the crises by management, one of GAM's top-five shareholders would not provide support. "We are still determining that," the investor said.
Friedman joined from UBS Wealth Management in 2014, since which time he has overseen two profit warnings and been forced into a boardroom battle with activist investor RBR Capital. He has also seen GAM's share price halve since he took the helm.
Analysts said. "If you add [Mr Haywood's suspension] with the impairment, this undermines the case for the management.
Tomasz Grzelak, an analyst at Baader Helvea, the equity research house added: "It was the CEO who led this. This is bad for the management.
"If he leaves, that would be positive for the shares. Investors overall are unhappy with his performance."
Defending his role, Friedman told the FT last week: "I am absolutely committed, the whole management team is committed and the board is committed."
Chairman of the group Hugh Scott-Barrett added: "The board is engaged closely in the oversight of recent events and absolutely believes the executive team has the interests of our clients and shareholders at heart. We are in active dialogue with shareholders and clients.
"Right now, it is in everybody's interest that the team continues to focus on resolving this issue so we can realise the value of GAM for all of our stakeholders."
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