GAM Holding AG today announced that David M. Solo has decided to step down from his current role as Group Chief Executive Officer and from the Group Management Board effective 8 September 2014. The Board of Directors is very pleased to announce the appointment of Alexander S. Friedman as his successor.
Solo joined the Group via GAM as CEO in 2004, then became CEO of the enlarged Asset Management division of Julius Baer in 2006. Following the separation from Julius Baer he continued as CEO of the operating entities GAM and Swiss & Global Asset Management, and finally – after moving from a pure financial holding model to an integrated structure – he assumed the role as Group CEO of GAM Holding AG in April 2013. While Friedman will take over seamlessly on 8 September 2014, Solo will assist him and the Board of Directors over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition, before pursuing new challenges. The leadership changes announced today are subject to the customary approvals by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA.
The Group’s overarching objective remains to grow profitability in a sustainable fashion, consistent with the strategy as communicated at the presentation of its half-year results 2014. Supported by its broad set of investment and distribution capabilities, the Group will now concentrate on promoting them more actively through enhanced sales and marketing activities to become top of mind with leading asset allocators globally. Additionally, Friedman will further develop the Group’s multi-asset solutions, which are increasingly relevant in the global institutional space. These efforts are focussed on accelerating growth in its investment management business where, over the medium term, the Group intends to achieve an annualised net new money growth rate of 5 to 10% of assets under management. At the same time, the Group remains committed to constantly improve efficiency and operating leverage, expressed by a targeted cost/income ratio of 60 to 65%.
Johannes A. de Gier, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: “On behalf of the full Board of Directors, I thank David for the tremendous and comprehensive transformation we achieved under his leadership. The changes he implemented enabled us not only to endure a number of challenging events over the past ten years, but also to thrive as an independent asset manager. With the fundamental restructuring of the company now completed under David’s tenure, the next step in realising our strategy will focus on increasing our recognition and market penetration in order to achieve the scale commensurate with the Group’s potential. The Board and I are convinced that Alex’s proven investment expertise, executive leadership skills and reputation will allow us to achieve the accelerated growth we aim for and are now ready to undertake.”
David M. Solo said: “It has been an extremely gratifying experience to lead this company through the structural changes experienced in our industry over the past years and across a number of important transitions. I would like to express my gratitude to the Board of Directors and our staff for enabling this broad transformation to a sound, diversified, independent company. I believe that today’s leadership change is a very natural progression for the Group. In Alex, the Board has appointed a thoughtful, experienced manager with the right skills to lead the company in achieving its ambitious growth plans. I look forward to working with him to effect a smooth transition.”
Alexander S. Friedman said: “I would like to thank the Board of Directors of GAM Holding AG for their confidence. I have long admired this company, and it is an honour to succeed David as CEO. I believe that exceptional active investment management adds value, and the Group demonstrates that it can be done successfully and sustainably. The GAM Holding Group has all the pre-requisites to be recognised as one of the top tier active asset managers globally, and I look forward to working with its talented teams to achieve this goal over the coming years.”
Prior to joining GAM Holding AG as Group CEO (effective 8 September 2014 and subject to regulatory approval), Alexander S. Friedman served as the Global Chief Investment Officer of UBS Wealth Management and Wealth Management Americas, as Chairman of the UBS Global Investment Committee and as a Group Managing Director. In these capacities, he oversaw the investment policy and strategy for approximately USD 2 trillion in assets.
Before joining UBS, Friedman was the Chief Financial Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest foundation, and a member of the foundation’s management committee – during a period when the foundation more than doubled in size. Friedman was also a Senior Advisor to Lazard, the financial advisory and asset management firm, a member of the supervisory board of Actis, the emerging-market private equity firm, and managed Asymmetry, a private investment firm.
Friedman was a White House Fellow in the Clinton Administration and an assistant to the US Secretary of Defense. He is a board member of several non-profit organisations, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a regular contributor to Bloomberg, CNBC, the Financial Times, and other media. Friedman holds a JD from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar, an MBA from Columbia University Business School and a BA from Princeton University.