Stephen Bird resigns as chief executive of Abrdn

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Stephen Bird is to step down as chief executive of UK asset manager Abrdn after a four-year tenure that included the group’s controversial rebranding.

Abrdn said Friday that “following a significant strategic repositioning of the company,” the time is right for Bird, a former senior Citigroup executive, to step down.

Bird will leave the company at the end of June, while chief financial officer Jason Windsor, who joined the company in October, will take over as interim director.

Abrdn said on Friday that following “a significant strategic repositioning” of the business, the board and Bird had “mutually agreed that the time was right” for him to leave. It will launch a formal search for a permanent successor.

Bird’s departure comes after a tumultuous period for the firm, the most prestigious of the UK wealth managers which has faced pressure to reduce fees to compete with larger competitors.

Since Bird took charge, Abrdn has been dropped from the FTSE 100 twice and the group’s shares have fallen more than 40% in the period. The bird also oversaw the much-derided rebranding of the business and earlier this year cut 10% of its workforce.

Bird has tried to diversify Abrdn by expanding its wealth management business and selling more investments directly to consumers. In 2021, Abrdn bought Interactive Investor, the second largest consumer investment site in the UK by assets, for £1.5 billion in 2021.

He also restructured other underperforming parts of the business, by selling off Abrdn’s £7.5bn private equity arm and selling its 50% stake in the joint venture. business with Virgin Money bank.

Sir Douglas Flint, Abrdn chairman, said that Bird “joined us at the outbreak of the pandemic and, despite the restrictions it imposed, led a fundamental reshaping of the company, leading from the front to create a company that can compete quickly- the industry is growing.”

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