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Abrdn CFO Stephanie Bruce planning exit

Stephanie Bruce
Stephanie Bruce: controversy over her pay package

UPDATED 23 DEC: Abrdn’s chief financial officer Stephanie Bruce is planning her exit from the Edinburgh-based asset manager.

The company confirmed it is looking for a replacement for Ms Bruce who has been CFO since June 2019.

“Stephanie initiated a conversation earlier in 2022,” the spokesperson said. “We are actively recruiting a replacement for her. There will be a smooth and orderly transition.”

On Friday, it issued a separate statement to stock exchange which neither confirmed not denied she was leaving.

It said it “notes yesterday’s press comment regarding succession planning for our Chief Financial Officer.

“The board regularly reviews succession planning with and for the executive team. Stephanie Bruce remains our Chief Financial Officer and no decisions have been taken regarding any change while succession planning is underway.”

Ms Bruce joined abrdn from accountancy firm PwC, where she was a partner. Her appointment, to what was then Standard Life Aberdeen, was a source of controversy when governance body Glass Lewis objected to her generous ‘golden hello’.

She was due to receive a £525,000 salary — about 17% higher than Bill Rattray whom she replaced. She also received a recruitment award worth £750,000, with shares that make up this part of her pay package vesting in equal tranches in June 2020, June 2021 and June 2022.

The company argued that she was forfeiting benefits from her previous role as a partner at PwC.

However, the package sparked a backlash at the AGM with 42.02% of shareholders voting against the package and the company – which has been a regular critic of other company remuneration policies – agreed to review its own pay deals for senior managers.

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