Abrdn seeks new CFO as Bruce steps down
Abrdn’s chief financial officer, Stephanie Bruce, is leaving the asset and wealth manager, confirming previous speculation.
Ms Bruce has agreed with the board that she will not seek re-election at the Edinburgh-based company’s annual general meeting on 10 May.
Her departure follows speculation in December when a company spokesperson said it was “actively recruiting a replacement” for Ms Bruce.
Subsequently, the company issued a statement which said “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”.
It has now been confirmed that she will step down as CFO and as a director of Abrdn at the conclusion of the AGM but will remain with the group until the end of the year to support an orderly transition. An announcement regarding her successor will be made in due course.
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.
Commenting on her departure, Abrdn chair Douglas Flint said: “On behalf of the board I would like to thank Stephanie for everything she has achieved at Abrdn over the last four years.
“This has been a period of major transformation and she has contributed significantly to that journey, leading the communication of our financial performance while ensuring that the Group maintained and reinforced its strong capital position.
“She leaves in due course with our best wishes as she builds her career outside the group.”
Ms Bruce, who previously worked at PwC between 2002 and 2019, added: “I am immensely proud that during my time at Abrdn, despite the backdrop of significant external headwinds, we have strengthened the balance sheet, invested in scale and capabilities, returned significant capital to shareholders and, with the commitment and determination of so many colleagues, focused relentlessly on our clients and our shareholders.
“Today the group is in a stronger position to build on these foundations with a more diversified profile for its next phase of growth.”