Abrdn boss leaves 'disemvowelled' fund giant weeks after saying it was victim of 'corporate bullying'

abrdn boss leaves 'disemvowelled' fund giant weeks after saying it was victim of 'corporate bullying'

Abrdn

Abrdn CEO Stephen Bird is leaving the role with immediate effect, weeks after he said mocking the struggling funds giant’s ‘disemvowelled’ name was “corporate bullying”.

Finance boss Jason Windsor will take over as interim CEO as the business looks for a full-time replacement.

The business has struggled in the post-pandemic era, as cheap index funds have made Abrdn’s offering look much less attractive. Shares are down 50% since February 2021.

Sir Douglas Flint, Chairman of Abrdn, said: "On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Stephen for everything he has achieved at Abrdn over the last four years. He joined us as the pandemic took hold and, despite the restrictions this imposed, spearheaded a fundamental reshaping of the company, leading from the front to create a company that can be competitive in a fast-evolving sector.

“Adapting the inherited business model to be capable of generating sustainable and profitable growth required strategic vision, intense hard work and the courage to make tough but necessary decisions. While this was underway, Stephen took time to assemble the talent needed to execute successfully on his strategic vision and he passes on to them, with confidence, the responsibility to execute the next stage of our transformation. We owe him a great debt of gratitude and wish him well in the next phase of his career.”

Bird became CEO in 2020 and led the firm’s rebranding from Standard Life Aberdeen, removing all of the vowels except for the one at the start.

Bird will work with Windsor on the handover until 30 June.

Bird said: “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 Investments business as a specialist asset manager, working to address its cost base and build mutually beneficial linkages with our wealth businesses.

“Abrdn's position in the UK wealth market has been transformed through the acquisition of interactive investor together with investment in our Adviser business; these are essential moves as the ongoing democratisation of savings responsibilities reinforces the demand for simple and cost-effective platform solutions to support individuals as they address their long-term financial needs.”

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