Between 1996 and 2002, Smith held the roles of chief executive, and then vice chairman, of Morgan Grenfell Asset Management (latterly Deutsche Asset Management).
At the time, it was the largest pension fund manager in the UK and the leading asset manager in Germany.
Smith said: “I am looking forward to getting started and playing my part in delivering the changes that are necessary to return the Trust to the levels of performance upon which it has earned its reputation and success.”
He replaces former chair Karin Forseke, who left at the start of the New Year as part of the firm’s decision to create a wholly independent board.
Forseke’s departure came just a few months after a bitter row with US hedge fund and major shareholder Elliott Advisors.
Elliott accused Alliance of underperformance and proposed changes to the management and board structure, both things that Forseke publicly rejected.