Stan Life, Aberdeen outline co-CEO responsibilities

Keith Skeoch, left, and Martin Gilbert, co-CEOs of Standard Life Aberdeen

Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management on Monday outlined the allocation of responsibilities between co-chief executives Keith Skeoch and Martin Gilbert after the companies complete their proposed merger.

Edinburgh-based Standard Life announced on March 6 it agreed to buy Aberdeen Asset Management for £3.8 billion in an all-share transaction that would create a global fund management player overseeing £660 billion of assets.

However, some shareholders have expressed scepticism of the companies’ plan for Standard Life’s Skeoch and Aberdeen’s Gilbert to be co-chief executives of the combined group after the merger.

Addressing that scepticism, the firms said in a joint statement that as co-CEOs, Skeoch and Gilbert would “share responsibility for core aspects of the role such as the executive committee, developing and promoting the combined group’s strategy and objectives, and monitoring operational performance and strategic direction.”

They said Skeoch would have “individual accountability for the day to day running of the fabric of the combined business including responsibility for investments, pensions and savings, the India and China insurance joint ventures, operations, finance, HR, risk and regulatory culture, as well as the legal and secretariat functions.”

The companies said Gilbert would have “individual accountability for external matters including responsibility for international activities, distribution including client engagement and business development, marketing and corporate development.”

They said Skeoch and Gilbert would have joint accountability for communications and post-merger integration programme.

Following completion of the agreed merger, Standard Life shareholders would own 66.7% and Aberdeen shareholders would own 33.3% of the combined group.

The companies said a chairman’s committee would be established to ensure effective co-ordination as the combined group moves forward after the merger.

It would be chaired by Gerry Grimstone, with Simon Troughton — deputy chairman of the combined group — Skeoch and Gilbert as its other members.

“Both companies expect to make further announcements regarding the composition of the proposed executive management teams of the combined group and senior executive responsibilities in due course,” said the firms.

Grimstone said “I am delighted that we have announced these clear accountabilities for the co-CEOs in the combined business.

“Both boards have thought carefully about the key responsibilities and believe that the proposals play well to Keith’s and Martin’s respective leadership strengths.

“This blend of complementary skills and experience will serve the company well.”