Co-head of newly-merged business
Interview: Martin Gilbert, co-CEO, Standard Life Aberdeen
Martin Gilbert: you learn how to cope with pressure (pic: SNS Group)
Putting the case for the long game
As Martin Gilbert approached the 18th green at Kingsbarns without a club in his hand he wore an expression that suggested he would not be in the mood for talking.
A keen golfer, the man who’d recently helped pull together the biggest ever merger of two Scottish companies looked a little unhappy as his second round didn’t produce the score he had been hoping for.
As he emerged from the recorder’s office, arranging to meet his caddie the following morning and checking his mobile phone, I was left wondering if he’d do a ‘Monty’ and slip away, ignoring any interview requests and a chance to catch up on the progress of his new venture.
Nothing could have been further from the truth, and despite this being the first time we had met, he was only too happy to delay his return to the warmth of the clubhouse to stop and chat.
In a year which has been dominated by the £11 billion tie-up between Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life, the golf course offers a welcome escape from the pressures of business for the man who helped set up Aberdeen in 1983.
“They are great guys to play with and playing with someone of the calibre of Marc Warren was a huge privilege,” he says.
It is also a world away from the dark days of the split capital trust meltdown at the turn of the century, a mis-selling scandal which could have cost him his job and seen his company go out of business….