The Elliott Management investor behind activist campaigns at UK healthcare giant GSK and Germany’s Fresenius has left the £55.7bn hedge fund, adding to an exodus of senior figures in its London office.
Sebastien de La Riviere, who had worked in Elliott’s London office since 2008, left in recent weeks and his positions in GSK and Fresenius, the world’s largest dialysis company, have been reallocated to other portfolio managers inside the firm, said people familiar with the matter.
It is the latest high-profile departure inside Elliott’s London office, where several key figures left the firm last year. Among them was senior portfolio manager Mark Levine, a longstanding and close ally of Gordon Singer, the son of Elliott’s founder Paul Singer who leads the London office.
Other departures include portfolio managers Mark Wills, who left in the summer of 2022, and Giorgio Furlani, who left last month to run Elliott-backed AC Milan football club. Sarah Rajani, the firm’s director of communications in London, also exited in recent months.
The exodus means Gordon Singer and Nabeel Bhanji are the only remaining senior portfolio managers in London.
Elliott set up its London office in 1994 and many of its activist campaigns in Europe and Asia are led by portfolio managers based there. The London office paid out £137mn in wages and salaries to 106 staff members in 2021, up from £113mn in 2020. Elliott’s website says the firm employs 499 people globally.
De La Riviere and Elliott declined to comment. Bloomberg first reported on his departure.
De La Riviere pushed for changes at GSK starting in 2021, questioning if chief executive Emma Walmsley was the right candidate to lead the pharmaceutical company after it spun off its consumer health division.
Elliott called on the GSK board to launch a process to determine if Walmsley, who does not have a background in science, should lead the UK drugmaker and to name new directors, with more scientific experience. It said the company had “credibility challenges” after a period of persistent underperformance and a lack of productivity in the drug pipeline.
The hedge fund also urged the GSK board to evaluate takeover offers for the joint venture with Pfizer that was later spun-off as Haleon. GSK later rejected a £50bn bid from Unilever to acquire the unit and there were no other offers.
Shares in GSK have lost about 10 per cent since the Financial Times first reported Elliott took a position in the company, in April 2021. Billions were wiped off the market capitalisation in July, as investors became nervous about lawsuits over the safety of the heartburn drug Zantac. Despite winning an important victory, which dismissed thousands of lawsuits, the shares have not fully recovered.