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Blue Sky names new MD as founder Mark Sowerby steps down

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A decade after starting Blue Sky Alternative Investments, founder Mark Sowerby will hand over the reins to the company’s current chief operating officer, Robert Shand, on 30 September 2016.

Shand has been with Blue Sky since 2010, was promoted to chief operating officer in 2013, and is well known to Blue Sky’s investor and associate network. He will replace Sowerby as managing director, backed by the existing team.
Sowerby, who will remain an active adviser to the business and a significant shareholder, is stepping down to spend time with his family and increase his involvement in other projects with a positive social impact.
Sowerby founded Blue Sky a decade ago as a private equity business providing expansion capital to growing small businesses.
The company has grown to become Australia's only listed fund manager solely focussed on diversified alternative assets, including private equity and venture capital, real assets (primarily water and agriculture), private real estate and hedge funds.
Blue Sky listed on the ASX in 2012 and has grown its market capitalisation to nearly AUD600 million. It has more than AUD2 billion in assets under management and has generated an internal rate of return (IRR) across its funds of 16.7 per cent per annum net of fees to the end of June 2016.
Blue Sky chair John Kain says: “Mark’s entrepreneurial vision and drive have shaped the business. To his great credit, Mark has built an extraordinary team with multiple layers of talent and experience, a team which can renew itself and continue to repay our investors’ trust through the decades ahead.
“Rob’s three years as COO give him an unparalleled understanding of what makes our business tick. His leadership, vision and clarity of decision-making qualify him to drive Blue Sky and build on the foundations of our first 10 years.”
“We have created a business which is more than just sustainable – it is fast growing, scalable and defensive – a unique combination reflected in our 10 year track record and position as one of Australia's best performing listed companies over the past four and a half years,” says Sowerby. “My decision reflects the ongoing growth and performance we see in the business and team, the foundations of a strong balance sheet and investments, and the incredible structural tailwinds in the sector. The last few years we have grown at 50 per cent per annum, and we see no reason for that to slow down.”

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