Director appointment and Chief Executive change
Standard Life Aberdeen plc (“SLA”) announces that Stephen Bird will join the board of directors of the Company and take up the role of Chief Executive-Designate on 1 July 2020.
The combination of Standard Life with Aberdeen Asset Management and the disposal of the Life business to Phoenix Group created an asset management business with scale, reach and potential, complemented by attractive opportunities in UK platforms and wealth businesses. With integration well progressed and having built significant balance sheet strength, this appointment launches the next phase of evolution aimed at developing and expanding the revenue opportunities available to SLA and marks the culmination of a wide-ranging succession planning exercise.
Following a handover period, and subject to regulatory approvals, Stephen will succeed Keith Skeoch as Group Chief Executive. Keith will at that point stand down from the Board after some 5 years as Group Chief Executive and 14 years as a Director, and will serve out the remainder of his contract as non-executive Chairman of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Research Institute (“ASIRI”). It is envisaged that the transition will take place by the end of the third quarter.
Stephen brings an established track record of delivering exceptional value to clients and customers, creating high quality revenue and earnings growth in complex and competitive financial markets, as well as deep experience of business transformation during periods of technological disruption and competitive change. Most recently, Stephen served as CEO of Global Consumer Banking at Citigroup, a role he held since 2015, retiring in November last year. Prior to that, Stephen was Chief Executive for all of Citigroup’s Asia Pacific business lines across 17 markets in the region, including India and China, in a 21 year career with Citigroup in which he held various leadership roles in banking, operations and technology across Citigroup’s Asian and Latin American businesses.
Sir Douglas Flint, Chairman of SLA said: “The transition from Keith Skeoch was always going to be a challenge to deliver, given the incredible scale and range of his contributions to the success of the company over many years. I am however extremely pleased to say we have found a truly worthy successor. I am delighted to welcome Stephen to Standard Life Aberdeen and am looking forward to working with him. He is an inspiring leader with a great track record and experience in leading businesses to harness digital technology to improve both productivity and the client and customer experience. This, coupled with his ability to create valuable partnerships and guide businesses through periods of major change, means that he is well placed to build on the strong foundations we have at SLA.”
Stephen Bird said: “I am delighted to be joining Standard Life Aberdeen as its next Chief Executive. This is a company with a great history, a strong brand and an exciting future. The current crisis has highlighted the importance of active asset management as well as building greater resilience into personal financial planning. SLA’s leading asset management, platforms and wealth capabilities give great scope to help clients and customers navigate these challenges; this is what attracted me to the company. I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues to create a better future for all our stakeholders.”
Sir Douglas Flint added: “I want to recognise Keith’s great leadership over the past five years as both our Chief Executive and for a period as co-Chief Executive. He guided the Company through its transformation arising from the merger with Aberdeen Asset Management and the deal with Phoenix Group amidst significant change in our industry. He has been a decisive and empathetic leader during the COVID-19 crisis and has supported the transition to new leadership selflessly, recognising that the post-COVID world brings a wide range of fresh longer-term opportunities and challenges that are best taken forward with leadership succession settled. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Keith and pay tribute to all he has achieved over his years of dedicated service and, in particular, for his leadership in safeguarding and supporting our colleagues during the current crisis”.
Keith Skeoch said: “It has been a real privilege to serve on the Board for the last 14 years and in particular the last five as Chief Executive. I know Stephen well and will leave my current role knowing the Company is in great hands. He will have my full support during transition, as he will have on an ongoing basis from the great team which has supported me.”
Following the transition and Keith Skeoch’s subsequent retirement from the Board, the Board will comprise two executive directors, eight non-executive directors and the Chairman. The Board will be made up of five women and six men.
Stephen Bird’s appointment is subject to approval by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Stephen has no other disclosable appointments and no other information is required to be disclosed pursuant to paragraph LR 9.6.13R of the Listing Rules of the Financial Conduct Authority.