Hedge fund firm Lansdowne names new CEO

LONDON Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:49am EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - One of London's largest hedge fund firms, Lansdowne Partners, has named Alex Snow, the former head of UK Investment Banking at Investec, as its new chief executive officer.

Snow will take over from Lansdowne co-founder Paul Ruddock, who is retiring at the end of June, and will start his role in September, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Lansdowne, a major shareholder in Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L), Manchester United (MANU.N) and Ryanair (RYA.I), has grown to become one of Europe's best-known hedge funds since starting out in 1998.

Its flagship fund - the $10 billion Developed Markets Strategy - is widely considered the largest hedge fund in Europe to bet on rising and falling share prices. Like many equity funds it has enjoyed a strong 2013 and is up 16 percent so far.

A former Rugby Union England international, Snow was most recently Executive Chairman of Investec's UK investment banking unit, a position he gained after the South African firm's 2011 acquisition of Evolution, which Snow had co-founded in 2001.

"Alex has been known to members of the Management Committee for many years and has the combination of management experience, energy and drive which we believe is necessary to lead Lansdowne going forward," Steven Heinz, Stuart Roden, Peter Davies and William de Winton said in a statement on behalf of Lansdowne Partners' Management Committee.

Lansdowne also said that Suzi Nutton, its current Head of Operations, will become Chief Operating Officer.

Ruddock, whose personal fortune was estimated at 270 million pounds in last year's Sunday Times Rich List, announced his retirement in March, 15 years after co-founding Lansdowne with Steven Heinz. Ruddock said he wanted to focus on his work in the arts and charity sectors.

He received a knighthood in 2012 amid criticism from some commentators over Lansdowne's role in short-selling or betting against bank shares during the credit crisis.

Lansdowne's Developed Markets fund has returned an average of 13.6 percent per annum since 2001. The fund bounced back strongly last year - rising 18 percent - after losing 20 percent in 2011.

(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes; editing by Laurence Fletcher and Elaine Hardcastle)

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