- Deanna Oppenheimer will depart at the investment group’s AGM next month
- Company co-founder Peter Hargreaves has been a major critic of Oppenheimer
- Alison Platt, the chair of Dechra Pharmaceuticals, has been named the next chair
The chair of Hargreaves Lansdown will stand down next month amid a growing shareholder backlash over her leadership.
Leaving: Deanna Oppenheimer will depart as Hargreaves Lansdown’s chair on 8 December
Deanna Oppenheimer will depart at the investment group’s annual general meeting on 8 December after almost six years in her position.
On Tuesday, Sky News revealed that the prominent proxy voting adviser Glass Lewis was recommending shareholders not approve her re-election as chair.
At Hargreaves’ AGM last year, a third of investors voted against Oppenheimer’s continued tenure as chair after the business endured a significant slowdown in new business.
Company co-founder Peter Hargreaves, who still owns around a fifth of its shares, was among those dissenting investors, having accused her of overseeing a ‘diabolical’ performance.
Sky reported in July that Hargreaves was working with headhunters on finding a successor, although the Bristol-based firm only formally announced Oppenheimer’s departure on Wednesday.
Her replacement at Hargreaves will be Alison Platt, the chair of veterinary products maker Dechra Pharmaceuticals, which agreed to be acquired by Swedish private equity group EQT for £4.5billion.
Platt also chaired L&G Financial Advice for three years and was chief executive of the estate agency Countrywide between 2014 and 2018.
Oppenheimer said she was ‘honoured to have overseen the board during a period of significant change for the industry and for HL.
‘HL is in a strong position for growth and has skilled leadership, which will ensure the company’s future success.’
Hargreaves is set to be relegated to the FTSE 250 Index due to its value shrinking by nearly a third this year.
However, although it has experienced a more challenging climate in the past couple of years, it has still expanded considerably during Oppenheimer’s tenure.
Since 2018, its client numbers have climbed by more than 800,000 to 1.8 million and assets under administration have jumped from £86.1billion to £134.8billion.
Trading received a shot in the arm during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic when lockdown restrictions led to a surge of new retail investors, with many first-time traders looking to make a little extra money.
In its most recent quarterly results covering the three months ending September, Hargreaves recorded £0.6billion in net new business and a 13 per cent increase in revenue to £183.8million.
Hargreaves Lansdown shares were 0.6 per cent up at 707.8p on early Wednesday morning but have slumped by 18 per cent since the beginning of this year.