The manager of £1.45bn unit trust fund has resigned because of "chronic fatigue", the investment company Jupiter said yesterday.
William Littlewood, who was in charge of the Jupiter Income unit trust, which has more than 200,000 investors, was forced to quit on doctor's advice.
Mr Littlewood, 34, took a three-month sabbatical from Jupiter's flagship fund at the start of the year. The move attracted attention because Jupiter's fortunes had faltered ahead of the all-important final quarter of the tax year, when most individual savings accounts (ISAs) are sold.
The fund had produced an average annual return of 22.5 per cent for investors during the 1990s but recently suffered a dip in performance. In January, Mr Littlewood said he needed "a short sabbatical". John Duffield, chairman of the £12bn fund management group, said Mr Littlewood was "exhausted" but planned to return.
Jupiter is writing to unit holders saying Mr Littlewoodhas retired from fund management. Its managing director, Steve Glynn, said: "He was due back from his sabbatical this week but unfortunately during that period his health has deteriorated. On Friday we had a letter from his doctor explaining he is suffering from chronic fatigue and it is in his best interests to stop work for an indefinite period.
"It's a great shame... He loved it and that's what really motivated him. And he did a remarkably fine job as well."
Anthony Nutt, 46, who has managed Jupiter High Income, a £177m fund since 1996, will take over running the fund.
Jupiter Income's standing has slipped to 89th out of 91 funds over the last six months, a reflection of recent difficulties.