Stephen Couttie has been appointed chief executive of London-based RAB Capital in succession to the firm's co-founder Philip Richards, who is stepping down to focus on his fund management responsibilities following a difficult 2008 for the Aim-listed hedge fund manager.
Couttie, 50, has been the chief operating officer of RAB Capital since July 2005 and finance director since April 2007, and has been responsible for the day-to-day running of the business. Previously he was chief financial officer of the capital markets business at the Swiss Re Group and group finance director of boutique investment bank Fox-Pitt Kelton.
Richards, who will remain an executive director of RAB Capital, is the senior fund manager for the RAB Special Situations Fund, which has struggled for much of this year, as well as for the RAB Global Mining and Resources Fund since its launch in late 2007.
The firm notes that the separation of business management from fund management is increasingly seen as best practice across the industry. The process to recruit a new finance director is underway, until which time Couttie will retain board responsibility for finance matters.
RAB Capital has also named Charles Kirwan-Taylor, who joined the firm in March and was appointed head of sales in June, as an executive director. Kirwan-Taylor has extensive investment banking and capital markets experience, having been head of equity capital markets at BZW in the late 1990s and then head of European equity capital markets at CSFB from 2001 to 2003.
He subsequently became chairman of UK corporate broking at Credit Suisse in 2005 and the following year co-founded Greyshrike Capital, a European long/short equity manager.
"I am pleased to be handing over my business management responsibilities to Stephen and wish him every success in his new role," Richards says.
The firm's co-founder and executive chairman Michael Alen-Buckley adds: "We believe that this change to our management structure is a very sensible step, allowing Stephen to take on the business leadership of RAB Capital and freeing up Philip to concentrate on running his funds.
"Stephen has been chief operating officer for three years and has already demonstrated great management expertise. I have every confidence that he will continue to deliver an exceptional performance in his new role as chief executive."