Standard Life Aberdeen appoints Stephen Bird as new chief executive

Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) has appointed Stephen Bird as its new chief executive as Keith Skeoch announced he will stand down from the role later this year.

Mr Bird has an established track record of delivering exceptional value to clients and customers, creating high-quality revenue and earnings growth in complex and competitive financial markets, as well as deep experience of business transformation during periods of technological disruption and competitive change.

Most recently, Mr Bird served as CEO of global consumer banking at Citigroup, a role he held since 2015, retiring in November last year. Prior to that, he 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 Citigroup in which he held various leadership roles in banking, operations and technology across Citigroup’s Asian and Latin American businesses.

Mr Skeoch has served as chief executive for five years and spent a further 14 as director of SLA. He will also serve out the remainder of his contract as non-executive chairman of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Research Institute.

The firm has said that the transition will take place by the end of the third quarter of this year.

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.

“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.”

Stephen Bird added: “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. 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. I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues to create a better future for all our stakeholders.”

Keith 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.”

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