UK – Societe Generale Asset Management UK co-founder Nicola Horlick has stepped down from her role as chief executive.

Horlick is giving up her UK operational functions and will take on a role within the broader SG group as special advisor to Philippe Collas, SGAM’s president and chief executive.

Replacing her will be co-founder and executive chairman, Keith Percy. John Richards and Alex Buffet remain chief investment officer and chief operating officer respectively.

Together with Richard and Percy, Horlick helped build up the firm since its inception in 1998. Known in the press as “superwoman” for being able to combine being a star fund manager with being a wife and mother, Horlick was highly regarded.

SGAM UK came under scrutiny last year, however, after suffering below average performance in its UK equity pooled funds in the first three quarters of last year, which was blamed on a premature bullish stance on the asset class.

Senior management was then reshuffled, with Horlick, who was head of equities at the time, moving her focus away from fund management to client and management responsibilities.

At the end of 2002 fund performance began to pick up, however, and SGAM UK produced fourth quarter returns of more than three percent above the index.

Commenting on her departure, Percy said: "We are extremely grateful to Nicola for the role she has played in building the UK business. She has been instrumental in bringing together the team of people who will take it on to its next stage. SGAM is in very good shape and we are extremely confident about our future prospects."

SGAM UK has six billion pounds (8.5 billion euros) in assets under management. SGAM worldwide has 232 billion euros in assets under management.