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In-house: Standard Life hires RBS stalwart Rushad Abadan as GC

After nearly a year since its previous permanent general counsel (GC) exited the insurer, Standard Life has hired Rushad Abadan from British banking giant RBS as its new legal head.

Abadan will serve out the rest of the year as deputy GC at RBS before making the switch in early 2016. He leaves RBS after nine years in its legal division, finally being appointed to his current role earlier this year. Abadan will replace David Burns as Standard Life’s most senior lawyer, with Burns filling the role on an interim basis while the pensions and insurance company sought a replacement for Malcolm Wood, who exited for Lloyds Bank last October.

The appointment marks a steady rise up the UK corporate ladder for Abadan, who spent his formative years as a private equity solicitor at Indian firms Crawford Bayley and DSK Legal. He moved to the UK in 2002 to take up a similar role with Scottish firm Dundas & Wilson.

Since joining RBS in 2006, Abadan has held a string of senior posts, including time as head of the legal team’s projects and corporate divisions.

As deputy GC at RBS, Abadan has been responsible for various specialist teams including those covering corporate, treasury, regulatory and structural reform matters as well as a range of product teams including lending, funds and structured debt. Abadan played a key role on the restructuring of over-leveraged Dutch bank ABN AMRO, which RBS purchased in 2009, and the flotation of Direct Line Group and Citizens Financial Group, which the British bank was under pressure to sell for a high price following its UK government backed bailout.

Keith Skeoch, chief executive of Standard Life, said: ‘Rushad has exceptional experience working in a variety of roles with a large international financial institution and I am delighted to welcome him to Standard Life. He is joining the company at an exciting time as we continue to build our business around the world. He will be a strong addition to our team.’

Abadan added: ‘Standard Life is an impressive business and has transformed over the last few years into a significant global player. I am delighted to be joining the company and I look forward to playing my part as the business continues to grow.’