Allied Minds chief executive Jill Smith has seemingly been forced from her position under pressure from activist investor Crystal Amber.

Jill Smith (pictured) has left her role as president and chief executive of commercialisation firm Allied Minds amid cost complaints from an activist investor, the Financial Times reported today.

Smith, who will remain on Allied Minds’ board of directors, has been replaced by Michael Turner and Joseph Pignato, previously general counsel and chief financial officer respectively, who will run the firm as co-CEOs.

Smith first became a non-executive director at the company in early 2016, before being appointed interim president and chief executive in April 2017 and a permanent promotion to the posts a month later. She took 13th place in the GUV Powerlist 2018.

Her departure comes as Allied Minds’ activist shareholder, Crystal Amber Fund, continues to push for greater cost efficiency, calling ultimately for the company to be broken up.

Crystal Amber has taken aim at Allied Minds’ renumeration package, slating the $3.9m in bonus shares granted to Allied’s UK staff during the first half of 2018, and a reward scale paying management 10% of gains on successful investments without exposure in the event of failure.

Smith had agreed to reduce her cash salary for two years from 2019, under a cost-cutting drive intended to reduce annual operating expenses by approximately 40%.

Allied Minds has also committed to ending its long-term incentive program, and Turner and Pignato have vowed under their leadership to pursue “all monetisation options” to ensure maximum shareholder value.

The upheaval follows yesterday’s news Woodford Investment Management had sold approximately 5% equity in Allied Minds, as part of a sweeping disposal of its assets forced by a rising tide of financial, regulatory and investor pressure.

Woodford Investment Management now owns 23% interest in Allied Minds, the FT said today, while Crystal Amber was reported to have bought a stake of around 2% by the Times in February 2019.

Image courtesy of Allied Minds