Spotlight On... Karin Forseke, chairman designate, Alliance Trust

  • @simonnread

What's this, a gender quota filling appointment?

Far from it. Karin Forseke has an impeccable CV for the job, which she takes up on 2 April, although she will join Alliance Trust's board on 2 March.

So what experience does she have?

Where to start? She is is currently deputy chairman of the Financial Services Authority and joined its board in 2004.

Is that all?

No. She was chief executive officer of Carnegie Investment Bank from 2003 until March 2006. She is a non-executive director of Wallenius Lines, a privately owned shipping company and a non-executive director of the Royal Opera in Stockholm. She is also a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences.

So she has a lot of experience of Sweden...

And elsewhere. She spent 29 years in the UK and US and, back in the 1990s, was chief operating officer at the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange, Liffe.

So is this Alliance Trust's first female board appointment?

No. The Dundee-based investment trust – the world's biggest with £2.9bn under management – has has a female chairman since 2004 when Lesley Knox took over. She joined the board in 2001. Former company secretary Sheila Ruckley was another high-profile board member between 2000 and 2006.

Isn't its chief a woman, too?

The redoubtable Katherine Garrett-Cox has been chief executive of Alliance Trust since 2008. Last year she successfully led a shareholder battle against private equity firm Laxey Partners.

Does it deliberately seek out senior women?

No. Alliance Trust said it has no positive discrimination policy and simply appoints "the right person for the job".