Standard Life to replace CEO Skeoch with ex-Citi banker
Standard Life Aberdeen has hired Stephen Bird, a former Citigroup banker, as its next chief executive to replace Keith Skeoch, who is stepping down after more than 20 years at the asset manager.
Bird will join the board on 1 July as CEO-designate and take over from Skeoch after a two-month handover period.
Skeoch, 63, has been CEO of Standard Life for the past five years and shared the top job with Martin Gilbert for two years after the merger to form Standard Life Aberdeen in 2017. Gilbert left two months ago.
As CEO Skeoch oversaw the merger with Aberdeen and the sale of the company's life insurance business to Phoenix Group, leaving Standard Life as a fund and wealth management business with £545bn of assets. He joined Standard Life in 1999 from HSBC and joined the board 14 years ago.
The company said with integration going well and its balance sheet strong the time was right for a new leader. After the handover Skeoch will work the rest of his contract as non-executive chairman of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Research Institute, receiving his £615,000 salary and benefits but no bonus.
Bird's appointment from outside the group and the fund management industry is a departure for Standard Life, one of the biggest and most venerable companies in the Scottish financial sector.
Bird, who is British, worked at Citi, the US financial services group, for 21 years and retired in November after four years running consumer banking. He started his career as an apprentice engineer at British Steel in 1983 before joining GE Capital in 1996.
Bird will be paid an £875,000 salary - £260,000 more than Skeoch, an annual bonus of up to 250% of salary and a long-term incentive plan award of 3.5 times salary for 2020 to 2022 vesting at the end of the period subject to performance. He will also be paid 18% of his salary in cash.
Douglas Flint, Standard Life's chairman, 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.
"Stephen 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."