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Matthews ‘could not wait for Crombie’s job’

Hargreaves Lansdown chief executive Peter Hargreaves says he believes Trevor Matthews quit as Standard Life’s head of UK retail because he could wait no longer to take over from chief executive Sandy Crombie.

Hargreaves credits Matthews with revolutionising the life office and says it has suffered a “disastrous loss” after he announced his departure last week.

Matthews said he was leaving Standard to become chief executive at Friends Provident.

Hargreaves believes that Matthews wanted Crombie’s job but was not prepared to wait. He considers that Standard Life’s loss is Friends Provident’s gain.

Hargreaves says: “It would appear to me that clearly either Sandy Crombie had to step aside or Trevor had to go. I think the company had to choose between him and Crombie and they chose not to decide. The easiest decision was to do nothing, so Matthews had to go.

“It is an odd move to go to Friends as the world is his oyster. The good news is that the UK life insurance industry has not lost him.”

In an interview with Money Marketing this week, Crombie insists that Standard Life’s new strategy was in place before Matthews joined in 2004.

However, Syndaxi Financial Planning managing director Rob Reid says he is concerned that Standard Life could slip back into its old ways with the departure of Matthews.

Reid says: “As far as I am concerned, Trevor Matthews was the guy that gave Standard Life its new strategy. It did not have a clue before he arrived. Will it go back to what it was doing before?

“Crombie had indicated in the past that he was going to go earlier. It would have been better for Trevor Matthews to take over from Crombie. I hope Crombie will not end up hanging on for too long.”

Crombie interview, p8

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