Martin Gilbert to leave Standard Life Aberdeen

Martin Gilbert

UPDATE 4 — Edinburgh-based investment giant Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) said on Wednesday vice chairman Martin Gilbert will not seek re-election at the company’s annual general meeting scheduled for May 12, 2020, and will “retire” from the company on September 30, 2020.

The ebullient Gilbert, 64, is one of the global asset management industry’s most prominent executives and he said he still has “a great enthusiasm for growing and guiding businesses” and that he is “looking forward to fresh challenges” in the next stage of his career.

The announcement of his departure follows speculation Gilbert could take up the role of chairman at digital bank Revolut.

Gilbert co-founded Aberdeen Asset Management and led that firm for 34 years until its merger with Standard Life in 2017 — and he initially served as co-chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen with Keith Skeoch.

Gilbert is also currently senior independent director of Glencore plc and chairman of the Prudential Regulation Authority’s Practitioner Panel, as well as a member of the International Advisory Panel of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the International Advisory Board of British American Business.

Gilbert said: “It has been an incredible journey, almost unimaginable from the earliest days when we were just three people in one office in Aberdeen with £50 million under management to today’s total in excess of £500 billion. 

“For more than 30 years, I have been fortunate to have worked with brilliant people all across the company, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues – past and present – who have supported me on this journey. 

“I will leave the company in extremely good hands, and well positioned for further growth and prosperity. 

“I am very proud of our achievements over the past three decades, but I still have a great enthusiasm for growing and guiding businesses and I am looking forward to fresh challenges in the next stage of my career. 

“Nevertheless, Standard Life Aberdeen will always be close to my heart, and I wish everyone associated with the company all the very best for the future.”

Standard Life Aberdeen said: “Between the date of this announcement and that time, Martin will continue to focus on strengthening the group’s relationships with clients, winning new business for the group and realising the potential from our global network and capabilities.

 “Progressively, Martin will transition his client and key regulatory relationships to executive colleagues and certain key public policy, industry body relationships to the chairman. 

“As part of this transition, those senior executives currently reporting directly to Martin will move their reporting lines under a revised structure.”

SLA chairman Douglas Flint said: “It is impossible to overstate Martin’s achievement in building Aberdeen Asset Management into a truly global and widely respected investment firm. 

“His ability to attract talent to deliver that success and his unrelenting commitment to the firm’s clients leave a legacy of which he should be immensely proud and which serves as a solid foundation for our future success. 

“His foresight to see the opportunities that led to the combination that created Standard Life Aberdeen and his tireless efforts to realise these opportunities post-merger are hugely valued by all his colleagues who now take up the responsibility to deliver on them.

“On behalf of the board and fellow shareholders, I would like to thank Martin for his dedicated service and contributions to Standard Life Aberdeen, particularly as it came together after our merger in August 2017.”

SLA said that from January 1, 2020, “in order to facilitate his transition to the next phase of his career” Gilbert’s working commitment to the company will reduce to four days a week and, accordingly, his salary will be reduced by 20% to £480,000 per annum.