Harry Henderson, chairman of the £1.8bn Witan Investment Trust and descendant of the fund's founding family, has announced he will retire at its next annual general meeting in 2020.
Henderson was appointed as a director of the trust in 1988 and became its chairman in March 2003. He will retire from the board at Witan's AGM in 2020 but the search for a replacement will begin imminently.
Under the leadership of senior independent director Tony Watson, a board committee will commence the search, and a chairman designate will be appointed to the board in 2019, becoming chairman following Henderson's departure the following year.
After Henderson was appointed as chairman in March 2003, he held a strategic review which resulted in the trust moving from being a global fund managed by Henderson Global Investors to a multi-manager vehicle with an independent chief executive.
According to Ewan Lovett-Turner, a director in Numis Securities' investment companies research team: "Success of the strategy was initially mixed, in our view, due to an institutional risk-budgeting approach, with around half of the portfolio invested in tracker funds.
"However, the portfolio became more actively managed over time, and performance has been strong since Andrew Bell, the current chief executive, was appointed in February 2010."
The trust was launched in 1909 to manage the estate of the first Lord Faringdon Alexander Henderson. The family's interest in the company today is relatively small as an overall percentage but remains a core holding for some members.
Over three years to 4 December, the trust is 43%, in line with its composite benchmark made up of the FTSE All-Share, FTSE AW North America, FTSE AW Asia Pacific, FTSE AW Europe ex UK and FTSE AW Emerging indices, according to FE.
However, it remains behind its AIC Global sector average return of 54%, though this figure includes underperformance seen during 'Red October' as a result of market volatility.
In early November, Witan's peer F&C Investment Trust announced that its chairman Simon Fraser intends to retire from the board during the course of next year, having held the position since 2009.
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