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Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management have outlined plans to split responsibilities between co-chief executives Martin Gilbert and Keith Skeoch after their £3.8bn merger, as they seek to allay investor fears about its unconventional management structure.

The two companies agreed to an all-share deal earlier this month, with Aberdeen boss Mr Gilbert and Standard Life boss Mr Skeoch set to run the combined group together.

However, the plan has been criticised by a string of shareholders, who fear that the two fishing partners’ personal friendship won’t translate to a successful business partnership.

In a statement on Wednesday, Standard Life attempted to ease some of the concerns by outlining how the two will split responsibilities.

Mr Skeoch will be responsible for the day to day running of the combined business, while Mr Gilbert will have individual accountability for “external matters” including international activities, marketing and business development.

The two will share responsibility for “core aspects of the role” including running the executive committee, strategy and monitoring performance, as well as communications and the post-merger integration programme.

They will also form part of a “chairman’s committee” intended to “ensure effective co-ordination”, along with Standard Life chairman Sir Gerry Grimstone and Aberdeen chairman Simon Troughton. Mr Grimstone is set to become chairman of the combined group, with Mr Troughton serving as deputy.

Standard Life said both companies expect to make further announcements regarding the proposed management team “in due course”.

Sir Gerry 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.

Mr Gilbert, who co-founded Aberdeen, said:

Keith and I have established a strong working relationship during the deal process and the mutual respect and trust which has been established will form the basis of our ongoing working relationship. Importantly we are both team players and see the benefit of delegating decision-making as well as seeking guidance from others to formulate clear strategic objectives.

We will draw on our complementary strengths and skillsets to lead the combined company. Keith will oversee the fabric of the company whilst I will be more outward facing focused on building and strengthening client relationships and developing international business.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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