Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Schroders launches search for successor to chief Peter Harrison -Dlight News

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Schroders has kicked off a search for a successor to its chief executive Peter Harrison, who is preparing to step down as the boss of the UK’s largest asset manager after eight years.

Headhunters have been sounding out potential candidates to take over the £750.6bn FTSE 100 group, according to three people familiar with the matter. Schroders, whose founding family is its largest shareholder, have hired Russell Reynolds to work on “a full and extensive global search”, two of the people said. The succession is expected to take place in 2025, one of the people added.

Among the potential internal candidates to replace Harrison are chief financial officer Richard Oldfield, who joined from PwC in October; the firm’s global chief investment officer, Johanna Kyrklund; Georg Wunderlin, global head of private assets; and Meagen Burnett, group chief operating officer.

Harrison, one of the longest-serving financial services bosses on the FTSE 100, has steered Schroders since two months before Britain voted to leave the EU; a decision that disrupted London’s status as an investment hub for Europe. 

He has sought to offset the decline of the company’s traditional business by pushing into faster growing areas such as private markets, acquiring a majority stake in Greencoat Capital — one of Europe’s largest renewable infrastructure managers — and expanding in wealth management and in its business line that offers outsourced chief investment officers and liability-driven investing to pension funds. 

These three growth areas now make up more than half of its assets under management, and their contribution to net operating revenue increased from 31 per cent in 2016 to 48 per cent last year. 

Line chart of Share price, pence showing Schroders shares have fallen sharply since their peak in 2021

The group’s share price is down 40 per cent since its peak in September 2021, and has dropped about 15 per cent during Harrison’s tenure as chief. Schroders recorded £517.1mn of profits before tax in 2014 and last year profit before tax was £487.6mn.

Schroders and Harrison declined to comment.

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