IRELAND - Ruth O'Briain, managing director of F&C Asset Management in Ireland, will shortly retire from the industry to be be succeeded by Mercer senior investment consultant and former F&C Irish business development head Grainne Alexander.

O'Briain, 40, was MD for six years but retires in April to become "a full-time mom", said an F&C spokesperson.

She was at Friends First Asset Management - integrated into F&C in 2001 - from 1991 onwards.

"We are very sorry to be saying goodbye to Ruth who, during her six years, has provided energy and motivation and has worked hard with her colleagues," said institutional business head Patrick Johns.

Alexander, in her mid-thirties, left F&C for Mercer Investment Consulting in 2002. While at Mercers, she was responsible for advising some of Ireland's largest pension schemes on institutional investment strategy. She was made European partner in 2005.

Johns said: "I am delighted to welcome Gr‡inne back to F&C as her O'Briain's successor...I am confident that she will build on the strong legacy Ruth leaves behind."

Alexander has more than 16 years of investment experience. According to a Mercers spokesperson, she has not yet been directly replaced.

F&C Asset Management managed £129.4bn (E189.7) as at 30 September 2005.