Standard Life Aberdeen appoints Keith Skeoch as sole chief executive

Fund giant Standard Life Aberdeen said Keith Skeoch has been appointed sole chief executive, with former joint boss Martin Gilbert stepping down to become vice chairman.

The group – Britain’s biggest listed asset manager – said Mr Gilbert will also become chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments as well as an executive director of the board.

Standard Life Aberdeen said that in his new role Mr Gilbert “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 news came as Standard Life reported underlying pre-tax profits falling to £650 million in 2018 from £660 million in 2017.

The move marks the first big change under the chairmanship of former HSBC chairman Sir Douglas Flint, who took on the job from January 1.

It brings to an end the unorthodox joint leadership structure in place since the group was formed out of the £11 billion merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017.

Mr Gilbert had previously led Aberdeen Asset Management at the time of the merger.

In other management changes, the firm said finance director Bill Rattray would step down at the end of May, to be replaced by former PwC partner Stephanie Bruce.

Sir Douglas said: “The changes that we have announced today have the unanimous backing of the board.

“The new structure will strengthen our client focus, simplify reporting lines and facilitate robust execution of the next stages of our transition and transformation programmes.”

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