Abrdn Executive Not Happy Over the Corporate Trend of Reactions to the New Company Name

An executive at a long-established investment firm has criticized the media for “corporate bullying” following its name change to Abrdn.

The asset manager rebranded from Standard Life Aberdeen three years ago, opting for a shorter name without vowels.

Chief investment officer Peter Branner expressed frustration with what he perceived as “childish” jokes from the press regarding the change, suggesting it would be unethical to treat an individual in a similar manner.

Abrdn (Credits: Abrdn)

In an interview with Financial News, Branner stated, “I understand that corporate bullying to some extent is part of the game with the press, even though it’s a little childish to keep hammering the missing vowels in our name.”

The Financial Times responded with a post that read “Lv Abrdn aln” (Leave Abrdn alone), while City AM’s front page featured the headline “Abrdn: an apology – sry we kp tkng th pss ot of yr mssng vwls.”

Abrdn (Credits: Jonne Roriz)

The fund group, formed from the merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017, has a rich history dating back to 1825.

It underwent a name change in 2021 after selling off its UK and European life insurance arm and relinquishing the Standard Life brand name to competitor Phoenix Group.

Abrdn (Credits: Russell Cheyne)

Abrdn enlisted branding agency Wolff Olins for the change but has faced ongoing ridicule, with some suggesting the company suffers from “irritable vowel syndrome.”

Branner highlighted the discrepancy in treatment between individuals and companies, questioning the ethics of continually mocking a name.

He remarked, “Would you do that with an individual? How would you look at a person who makes fun of your name day in, day out? It’s probably not ethical to do it, but apparently, with companies, it is different.”

Other widely criticized name changes include Elon Musk’s decision to rename Twitter as X last year, and the proposed change of Royal Mail to Consignia in 2001.

An Abrdn spokesperson responded, stating, “As Peter made clear in his interview, we appreciate it is for the media to make their own assessments about the companies they wish to write about.”

Josh Alba
Josh Alba
Josh Alba stands at the forefront of contemporary business journalism, his words weaving narratives that illuminate the intricate workings of the corporate world. With a keen eye for detail and a penchant for uncovering the underlying stories behind financial trends, Josh has established himself as a trusted authority in business writing. Drawing from his wealth of experience and relentless pursuit of truth, Josh delivers insights that resonate with readers across industries.
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