Martin Gilbert steps down as co-chief of Standard Life Aberdeen in boardroom shake-up

Pedro Gonçalves
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Martin Gilbert steps down as co-chief of Standard Life Aberdeen in boardroom shake-up

Martin Gilbert, co-chief executive officer of Standard Life Aberdeen has stepped down from the position, giving sole responsibility to Keith Skeoch, effective immediately as the firm ditches its controversial co-head structure.

Gilbert had been chief executive of Aberdeen Investments since he co-founded the company in 1983. Following the merger with Standard Life in 2017, he became co-CEO alongside Keith Skeoch. He was one the City's longest-serving bosses.

The co-chief structure had come under pressure in recent months in light of SLA's continued poor performance since the merger, which was aimed at staunching outflows from the two companies. The arrival of Douglas Flint, the former HSBC chairman, as SLA's new chairman in January triggered the review of the arrangement.

The board has unanimously approved the dissolution of its current co-chief executive structure. Keith Skeoch has been appointed sole CEO"

"The board has unanimously approved the dissolution of its current co-chief executive structure. Keith Skeoch has been appointed sole CEO," Flint said in a statement.

"Recognising the critical importance of his client facing responsibilities, Martin Gilbert becomes vice chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen, Chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments and will continue to be an executive director of the board.

"In this role, Martin will be able to focus solely on our strategic relationships with key clients, winning new business and realising the potential from our global network and product capabilities."

The group said the co-CEO arrangement had always been temporary and that the integration process which is currently at 75% and six months ahead of schedule, felt like the natural time for the restructure.

Gilbert added he had suggested Keith be sole CEO as the joint structure was a "distraction both internally and externally".

As part of a broader board reshuffle, SLA also said Chief Financial Officer Bill Rattray would step down at the end of May and be replaced by Stephanie Bruce, a partner at consultant PwC.