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Keith Skeoch steps down from SLA

David Stevenson, 30/06/2020

Investors in Standard Life Aberdeen appear heartened by the news that group chief executive Keith Skeoch is stepping down, as its share prices is up 2.5 percent to 272.5p in early trading on the news.

Should this be a surprise? Following the merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017, around £200 billion was wiped off the firm’s assets under management while its share price deteriorated by about 25 percent.

Co-CEOs rarely work, Andrew Formica quit Janus Henderson to take the helm of Jupiter while working ‘alongside’ legacy Janus boss Dick Weil. Similarly ‘the sage’ of Aberdeen, Martin Gilbert (pictured), who orchestrated the merger with Standard Life, took on various external roles before finally deciding to leave the entity all together to take a role with fintech firm Revolut.

Today the firm announced that Stephen Bird will take up the role of chief executive-designate from 1 July.

In a statement to the markets, chairman Sir Douglas Flint said (presumably with a straight face): “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."

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