Keith Skeoch steps down at Standard Life Aberdeen

Simon Foy
Keith Skeoch

Standard Life Aberdeen boss Keith Skeoch will step down from the asset manager he helped form after leading it for five years.

He will be replaced by former Citi executive Stephen Bird, who will join as chief executive-designate on Wednesday and will most likely take over by the end of the third quarter, subject to regulatory approval.

Mr Skeoch's departure comes only two months after his former co-chief executive Martin Gilbert left the company. The two men led the money manager for several years after the merger of Aberdeen Asset Management with Standard Life in 2017. The dual-headed structure ended last year, with the company having deemed to have underperformed since its merger.

Mr Skeoch will serve out the remainder of his contract as non-executive chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments Research Institute.

Mr Bird, who held several executive positions at Citi until last year and was once tipped as a potential chief executive at HSBC, will join on a salary of £875,000 plus a bonus of up to 250pc of that subject to performance.

Under the terms of his contract, he will also have access to a long-term incentive scheme with a potential award of 350pc of salary for 2020 to 2022.

Sir Douglas Flint, chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen, 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."

Shares rose 3.1pc to 274.2p.