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Skeoch steps down as CEO at Standard Life Aberdeen

Keith Skeoch

Keith Skeoch: managed the merger

Keith Skeoch is to step down as chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen and will be replaced by former Citigroup banker Stephen Bird.

Mr Bird, who will join the board tomorrow as chief executive-designate. was CEO of global consumer banking at Citigroup, a role he held since 2015, retiring in November last year.

Mr Skeoch will stand down from the board after five 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.

It is envisaged that the transition will take place by the end of the third quarter.  

The company said that with integration of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management 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.

Stephen Bird: joins the board on 1 July

Prior to his last role, Mr Bird 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 the company in which he held various leadership roles in banking, operations and technology across its Asian and Latin American businesses.

Mr Skeoch’s departure will follow that of Martin Gilbert with whom he served as co-chief executive following the merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017. Mr Gilbert has joined the challenger digital bank Revolut as chairman.

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.  

Douglas Flint

Sir Douglas Flint: ‘we have found an inspiring leader’ (pic: Terry Murden)

“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.

“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.”

Mr Bird said: “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.”

Mr 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, 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.



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