Man chief executive steps aside for internal successor

The beleaguered boss of the world's biggest listed hedge fund yesterday bowed to pressure and quit with a pay-off worth at least $925,000 (£576,000).

Man Group chief executive Peter Clarke, whose $7m pay package drew fierce criticism earlier this year in the so-called shareholder spring, has been battling for some time to turn around the stuttering performance of the business, which has been hit by the misfiring of its flagship AHL fund.

But investor patience finally snapped yesterday as Man announced Mr Clarke would be replaced by chief operating officer Manny Roman from February 28. Mr Roman joined the group in 2010 when Man bought GLG, the hedge fund he co-founded, for $1.6bn. Many in the City believe Man paid too high a price for the deal.

A company spokeswoman said Mr Clarke would be paid his full salary as a consultant to Mr Roman for a year, although he will not be entitled to a bonus for 2012.

The chief executive, who had a personal holding of nearly 5.2 million shares in the business, will also keep his share options, although these are largely underwater after Mr Clarke oversaw a precipitous 77 per cent plunge in the share price since the beginning of last year. The stock rose 4.96 per cent, or 3.65p, to 77.3p on news of his exit.

The company has $60bn under management but has been bleeding cash as investors take their money elsewhere and dropped out of the FTSE 100 index in June. The firm swooped for "fund of funds" manager FRM in the summer, boosting assets by more than $8bn, although the underlying business is less healthy with more than $2.2bn pulled out in the three months to September 30.

Mr Clarke, who joined Man from the investment banking industry in 1993 and took the helm in March 2007, has been stripping costs out of the business with more than $200m in savings under way.

He also presided over a boardroom shake-up in the summer which saw WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell's son Jonathan become chief financial officer.

Man has faced severe difficulties with AHL, the algorithm-driven "black box" fund which makes money by picking out trends and trading, and has suffered from quantitative easing.