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VGI appoints chief executive

The Sydney hedge fund has hired a former head of BlackRock's Australian ETF business as its chief executive.

Jonathan Howie was appointed to the role by the board of VGI Partners, which is chaired by Robert Luciano.

The appointment is effective April 12.

Howie headed BlackRock's Australian business from 2011 to 2018 and left for the role of head of index equity, Asia Pacific. His old role was filled by Christian Obrist.

"We are delighted to have Jonathan join VGI at such an important time in our company's growth. Jonathan is well suited to take our company strategy forward, with the skills and experience needed to drive long-term value for all our shareholders," Luciano said.

"Jonathan's appointment is part of our focus to further build out VGI's investor relations, operational and risk management capabilities.

"This will allow VGI to further enhance our existing capabilities and continue to grow the business while ensuring the senior investment team and I remain focused on managing the Global and Asian portfolios," he said.

Howie's appointment comes days after the Australian Financial Review reported VGI was facing backlash from David Kingston and Malcolm McComas over the discount to NTA in VGI's listed funds.

"I'm excited to work with Robert and the team to further enhance VGI's investor communications and operational capabilities, and in due course, drive the next phase of growth as we leverage VGI's platform to develop existing and additional strategies," Howie said of the appointment.

VGI Partners was set up by former Caledonia Investments portfolio manager Robert Luciano in 2009. It listed on the ASX in 2019, offering about 20% of the total equity to new shareholders. About a year later, co-founder and head of research Douglas Tynan stepped down, while saying he intended to be a shareholder and investor.

Read more: Robert LucianoVGI PartnersJonathan Howie