The board of the Aberdeen New India investment trust has appointed former fund house marketing, communications and investor relations director Rebecca Donaldson as an independent non-executive director.
Donaldson, who will take up the role from 1 September prior to standing for election at the trust's 23 September AGM, has 28 years' experience in the asset management industry, most recently with BMO Global Asset Management.
In nearly three years with BMO GAM, she first served as head of institutional marketing before being appointed head of channel marketing for EMEA, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also previously served as an investment director for Fidelity Solutions.
Chair of Aberdeen New India Hasan Askari said: "The directors are delighted to have appointed Rebecca who combines a long career in investment management and strong digital marketing expertise, underpinning our continuing commitment to improve the promotion of the company to existing and potential shareholders."
The hire follows "an incredibly challenging period" for the trust, which announced its annual financial report today, citing the pandemic, "miscalculations" by the Modi government and "dampened" investor sentiment as key obstacles faced by the management team.
In the year to 31 March, the trust saw a 23.1% decline in total assets to £242m, while its market capitalisation fell 29.3% to £193m. At 328p, its mid-market share price was down 28.9% for the year, and its discount to NAV widened from 13.3% at the same time last year to 20.3%.
However, Aberdeen New India's 22.7% fall in NAV held up well against the 27.3% fall in the MSCI India index over the same period.
In the annual financial report Askari attributed this relative outperformance to the "manager's emphasis on selecting good quality stocks with strong balance sheets".
He added: "The manager's preference for defensive consumer staples proved beneficial as the crisis broke.
"Notably, your Company's exposure to Nestle India and Hindustan Unilever, contributed to the year's performance. Both of these large fast-moving consumer goods companies managed the slowdown in rural demand.
"Similarly, the slump in oil prices helped lower production costs and boost market leader Asian Paints. Its robust cash position and brand popularity, which confers pricing power, should enable it to withstand the economic shocks."