Chris Merry (pictured) joined the £45bn multi-family office, headed by the sixth-generation of the Fleming family, on Tuesday. For the previous five years, Merry was chief executive of fund administration and outsourcing firm Ipes.
He takes over from Giuseppe Ciucci, who had been CEO since 1997 and oversaw the merger between Stonehage and Fleming Family & Partners in 2015. Ciucci will remain a full-time executive, working with new and existing clients as managing partner.
Merry’s appointment comes after £2bn investment trust Caledonia Investments, controlled by the Cayzer family, in December plunged £90m into the international family office taking a 37% stake.
7IM, which Caledonia owns, is also going through a period of leadership change with co-founder and CEO Tom Sheridan the latest senior departure, making way for former Arbuthnot Latham CEO Dean Proctor. The departures came as the London-based firm merges its operations with Scottish boutique Tcam.
No need for ‘over-promoted investment managers’
GBI2 managing director Graham Bentley said Merry’s appointment appears to have been down to his breadth of CEO experience. Before Ipes, he was CEO of UK accounting firm RSM Tenon and at boutique funds business Matrix Group.
“Businesses today need professional CEOs, not over-promoted investment managers,” Bentley said.
In a press release announcing his appointment, Merry said Stonehage Fleming had a “remarkable” position in its market, the team had “redefined the modern family office” and the founding Fleming family understood the “requirements of a contemporary audience”. Caledonia’s investment had been an endorsement of the firm, he said.
Before leading a number of boutique financial services businesses, Merry was a finance director for Clifford Chance and a partner at PwC.
Ciucci said Merry was “widely known for his practical as well as his strategic skills”, which would be important as the business expands.
“After 22 years as group CEO the time is now right to appoint a new person to this role, to bring some fresh ideas and direction and enable me to concentrate first and foremost on serving our clients.”