Home Money Abrdán boss Stephen Bird resigns as asset manager

Abrdán boss Stephen Bird resigns as asset manager

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Departure: Stephen Bird has resigned as CEO of Abrdn
  • Stephen Bird has resigned as CEO of the investment group
  • Abrdn CFO Jason Windsor to become CEO on an interim basis

Departure: Stephen Bird has resigned as CEO of Abrdn

Abrdán’s boss resigned after four challenging years at the helm, having overseen a controversial rebrand, the “simplification” of the asset manager and disappointing results.

Stephen Bird has resigned as chief executive of the investment group, but will remain with the company until the end of June to allow for a smooth handover.

Jason Windsor, Abrdn’s chief financial officer, will become chief executive on an interim basis while the asset manager searches for a full-time successor.

Bird took over the Edinburgh-based group at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in July 2020, following a 21-year stint at banking giant Citigroup, including as head of its global consumer banking business.

He succeeded Keith Skeoch, who helped form the company in 2017 through the £11bn mega-merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management.

The Scottish banker sought to revive the company’s fortunes by cutting costs – including hundreds of job losses – and expanding its wealth management and retail investment operations.

In May 2022, Abrdn spent £1.5 billion to buy Interactive Investor, Britain’s second-largest online trading platform for private investors.

However, Abrdn experienced a significant outflow of funds as it faced competition from its competitors for lower fees, and investors poured their cash and less risky investments amid a challenging economic backdrop.

Between 2021 and 2023, the company’s assets under management fell by approximately £47 billion to £494.9 billion, and it dropped out of the FTSE 100 index twice.

The company also came under some ridicule after changing its name from Standard Life Aberdeen to Abrdn.

A survey by comparative website Investing Reviews in September 2021 described the rebranding decision as an “act of corporate folly.”

Last month, Abrdn’s investment chief accused the media of “corporate bullying” as a result of the group dropping vowels from its new name.

Since switching to a different name, Abrdn shares have plummeted around 44 per cent as it continued to suffer an exodus of investors and posted two successive annual losses, including a pre-tax loss of £612m in 2022.

abrdn actions They rose 0.35 per cent to 156.55 pence on Friday afternoon.

Sir Douglas Flint, Abrdn’s chairman, said Bird “spearheaded a fundamental reshaping of the business, leading from the front to create a business that can be competitive in a rapidly evolving sector”.

He added: “Adapting the legacy business model to be able to generate sustainable and profitable growth required strategic vision, intense hard work and the courage to make difficult but necessary decisions.”

Bird told investors: ‘I am immensely proud of the work we have done together to simplify abrdn and position the company for sustainable growth.

“Together with a refreshed leadership team and an incredibly committed group of colleagues at all levels, we have refocused our global investment business as a specialist asset manager.”

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