Standard Life managing director Scott Bell, stalwart of the company's
mutuality stance, is retiring in March next year after more than 40 years
at the life office.
Long-term colleague and chief executive of UK operations Jim Stretton is
also standing down. He will take early retirement on December 15.
Current group finance director and appointed actuary Iain Lumsden will
take over as group chief executive.
Standard Life Investments chief executive Sandy Crombie will become deputy
group chief executive. His replacement for the investment business has yet
to be announced.
Both appointments are to take effect from March 16.
Bell joined Standard in 1958 and worked his way up the company to become
group managing director in 1988. Stretton has been Bell's right-hand man
since 1988. He joined Standard as a graduate in 1965.
Bell and Stretton were resolutely behind keeping Standard mutual and saw
it through its most fraught campaign against the carpetbaggers last year
led by Australian businessman Fred Woollard.
Lumsden looks set to take on a more open approach than his famously
tight-lipped predecessor although he too is a long-standing Standard
figure. He joined the company as a graduate in 1967 and has been
group finance director since 1994.
Lumsden says he does not believe in mutuality for mutuality's sake but
says there is no current reason to demutualise. Running out of capital or
receiving a substantial takeover bid are the only reasons he considers
would make the company give up its mutual status.
Lumsden says IFAs should not expect radical change at the
company and that it remains committed to the IFA channel.
He plans to expand the business in Europe and sees Standard's investment
business as key to its future success.
He says: “We are not mystics. We do not believe in mutuality for its own
sake. Our sole purpose is produce the best possible returns for our
policyholders. We have got to have a reason to demutualise and we have
enough capital for the foreseeable future.”