Anne Gunther steps down as CEO of Standard Life Bank

Standard Life Bank’s chief executive Anne Gunther has stepped down after almost seven years heading up the insurance giant’s lending division.

She will leave the firm at the end of February.

In addition to heading up Standard Life Bank, she was also CEO of Standard Life Healthcare and managing director of UKFS Customer Relationship Development.

A spokesperson for Standard Life says: “Gunther is leaving the business to spend more time on her other responsibilities and interests outside Standard Life.”

“Over the last 18 months, she has led work to integrate our banking and healthcare operations into our UK financial services business, and develop our direct to customer proposition in customer relationship development.

“Now that the work she set out to achieve has been largely completed, she has decided she would like to spend more time on her responsibilities and interests outside Standard Life.”

Over the last year Standard Life Bank has had a deliberate strategy of reducing its lending and gross lending for 2008 was as a result 70% down year-on-year to £1.1bn.

Alan Dring, who was head of sales at Standard Life Bank before leaving three years ago, says he is surprised that Gunther had not decided to leave the firm sooner.

He says: “The ambition that lady has, I would have thought she would have left 18 months ago. She will no doubt now go on and forge other things as the market allows.”

Dring adds that with the winding down of its lending over the last year, it wouldn’t surprise him if Standard Life Bank was now phased out.

He says: “An awful lot of people have left in the last 12 months. And an awful lot of the people now steering the bank are also steering the insurance side, so it wouldn’t be too much trouble to integrate Standard Life Bank into Standard Life and for it to be managed as a function of the parent group.”