Robert Zoellick ‘brought valuable global perspective’ to AllianceBernstein (Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg)
Robert Zoellick ‘brought valuable global perspective’ to AllianceBernstein (Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg)

Robert Zoellick has stepped down after less than two years as chairman of AllianceBernstein, the New York-listed fund manager, as the fallout from French insurer Axa’s sale of its US business continues.

Mr Zoellick, the former World Bank president, took charge of the $516bn investment group in 2017 after the ousting of Peter Kraus. At the same time, JPMorgan Chase veteran Seth Bernstein became chief executive and the group’s board was overhauled with six new directors, four of whom had connections with Axa.

Mr Zoellick’s time at AllianceBernstein has been tumultuous. Soon after his appointment Axa announced that it would sell Axa Equitable, its US subsidiary that is the majority owner of AllianceBernstein. The investment group also revealed that its headquarters would move from New York to Nashville.

Last month, Axa cut its ownership of Axa Equitable to a minority position. Axa Equitable retains its 65 per cent stake in AllianceBernstein.

Denis Duverne, chairman of Axa, has also left the AllianceBernstein board.

Mr Bernstein paid tribute to Mr Duverne and Mr Zoellick. “Denis has served with distinction for 23 years and we are grateful for his leadership,” he said. “And we extend our sincere appreciation to Bob who brought us a valuable global perspective and has been instrumental in guiding AllianceBernstein through a time of significant change.”

Ramon de Oliveira, a former JPMorgan Chase executive who was already on the AllianceBernstein board, has been named chairman.

Mr Zoellick served as World Bank president from 2007 to 2012, having previously been US deputy secretary of state and trade representative under President George W Bush. Earlier in his career he was a senior adviser at Goldman Sachs. Last year he joined the board of Twitter.

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