Aberdeen’s head of acquisitions to retire

Hugh Little
Hugh Little

Hugh Little, the head of acquisitions at Aberdeen Asset Management is to retire this summer, the Granite City-based wealth manager has announced.

Mr Little, 58, who is one of the longest standing employees at the asset management giant, will step down at the end of June, bringing to a close a career spanning 28 years with AAM that last year saw him head the £550m takeover of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (Swip) from Lloyds Banking Group.

The company said Mr Little now plans to spend time on his non-executive roles, having recently been appointed to the board of newly listed property fund Drum Income Plus Reit.

He is also a governor and visiting professor at Robert Gordon University.

Hailing Mr Little’s “significant role” in AAM’s growth and success,

Aberdeen chief executive Martin Gilbert hailed Mr Little’s contribution to the rise and rise of Aberdeen as “significant”.

Mr Gilbert said: “Without his management skills, commitment and focus, many of the acquisitions which have helped us to grow would not have happened and Aberdeen would not be the financially strong diversified, global asset management company we are today.”

Mr Little joined AAM from the corporate finance division of Ernst and Young in 1987 as the firm’s ninth employee, working alongside Mr Gilbert on mergers and acquisitions before moving into the group’s private-equity division in 1990.

Some of the private companies for which the firm provided early stage funding during this period include transport operator and fellow Aberdeen-based firms FirstGroup and energy service firm Wood Group.

All three companies have since become FTSE 100 companies.

In 2006, Mr Little reverted back to his original role as head of acquisitions and since then has project-managed the group’s prolific mergers and acquisition activity.

As well as the acquisition of Swip in 2014, which added over £130billion AuM to Aberdeen and strengthened the firms’ fixed, income, property and solutions capabilities, he also led the 2013 takeover of Artio Global Investors, the 2010 acquisition of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s alternatives fund management business, the 2009 buyout of certain asset management business from Credit Suisse and the 2008 deal with Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation which brought AAM distribution access to Japan.

Last year, he picked up prestigious Scottish deal and acquisition of the year awards on behalf of AAM in recognition of the SWIP deal.

Away from AAM, Mr Little served for 12 years on the board of Aberdeen Football Club.

He was also a director of Grampian Enterprise and a member of the north-east board for the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

Mr Little said: “Whilst I look forward to spending some time on the golf course and more immediately to my daughter Jenni’s wedding in July, I hope also to share some of my experience with other businesses in a non-executive capacity.”

Mr Little will be replaced by Glasgow-born David Boyle, who has been with Aberdeen for 12 years – initially as an investment manager in its pan-European equity team and more recently as a member of AAM’s alternatives unit, focusing on private-equity.

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