Keith Skeoch hands over Standard Life Aberdeen leadership to Citigroup veteran

Stephen Bird previously spent 21 years at global banking giant



Standard Life Aberdeen group chief executive Keith Skeoch is stepping down after 14 years as a director at the firm.

He will be replaced by Citigroup veteran Stephen Bird who on Wednesday joins the board of directors and will begin a handover period with Skeoch expected to complete by the end of Q3.

Skeoch (pictured), who has spent the past five years as CEO, will serve out the remainder of his contract as non-executive chairman of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Research Institute.

SLA said in a statement the change marks the culmination of a succession planning exercise following the merger of Standard Life with Aberdeen Asset Management in August 2017 and the sale of the life business to Phoenix Group which completed in August 2018.

Following the merger of Aberdeen and Standard Life, Skeoch had been co-CEO with Martin Gilbert, but the firm decided to scrap the model, leaving Skeoch as sole CEO. Gilbert became the group’s vice chairman and chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments before leaving the firm in October last year.

> See also: Martin Gilbert exits Standard Life Aberdeen after rollercoaster ride

Bird was previously CEO of global consumer banking at Citigroup, a role he held from 2015 until November last year. Before that he was CEO for all of Citigroup’s Asia Pacific business lines across 17 markets in the region, including India and China.

During his 21 years with Citigroup he held various leadership roles in banking, operations and technology across its Asian and Latin American businesses.

SLA chairman Douglas Flint 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.”

Bird said: “I am delighted to be joining Standard Life Aberdeen as its next chief executive. 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.”

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 handover and Skeoch stepping down, the board will comprise two executive directors, eight non-executive directors and the chairman. It will be made up of five women and six men.