Retiring Martin Gilbert Confident Scottish Open Sponsorship Will Continue.

Martin Gilbert, and outgoing Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) Vice-Chairman, has assured Scottish Golf, the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour of the company’s full and continued support following his retirement.

Gilbert founded Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM) in 1983 becoming CEO and in 2017 the company merged to form Standard Life Aberdeen and with the proud Scot appointed as co-CEO.

While born in Malaysia, Gilbert studied at Aberdeen University and after well over 30-years at the helm of AAM and then ASI he stepped down from that role in March 2019 and in September later this year he will retire from the company.

Gilbert is a member of four golf clubs – Royal Aberdeen, Deeside, Sunningdale and Royal Selangor in Malaysia – and with his enthusiasm AAM took over in 2012 title sponsorship of the men’s Scottish Open. In 2017, the premier Scottish event became a founding Rolex Series tournament.

AAM did sponsor the 2008 Ladies Scottish Open for that one year but it was in 2011, and with Scotland’s own Catriona Matthew winning at Archerfield, that the company began a now 10-year association with Scottish Golf and the Ladies European Tour.

Aberdeen Standard Investtments Martin Gilbert with World No. 1 Rory McIlroy (Photo – European Tour)

Gilbert said: “The Scottish Open, both the ladies and the men, has become very much associated with Aberdeen Standard Investments and the holding company, Standard Life Aberdeen.

“Having the tournaments in Edinburgh has really helped and I know the Chairman (Sir. Douglas Flint) shares my view that these tournaments are events that we should be continuing with.

“Of course, nothing is guaranteed with the Coronavirus shutdown but if this pandemic not have happened, I could give you an unequivocal reply.

“I still think we would love to do it but then the whole European Tour is up for grabs at the moment as no-one knows when events are going to be played and how may are going to be played.”

And Gilbert was asked in the bigger business picture what he felt will be the landscape in terms of companies surviving post the lifting of the lockdown.

He said:  “There should be no concerns for the big brands as it will be small businesses who will be affected certainly more than big businesses.

“It will certainly affect the leisure industry while tourism will revert back, and with tourism now being within our own country and with national priorities before globalisation.

Martin Gilbert and hoping in retirement to ‘scrounge’ a few tickets into a Scottish Open. (Photo – Aberdeen Standard Investments)

“So, for businesses like ourselves that have an international presence our sponsorship of sport will be as important.

“I am sure the issue some sponsors will have is sporting events being played behind closed doors and largely for television.

“Certain sponsors and probably like ourselves would prioritise television over attendance but certainly some of them will prioritise attendance over the TV.

“So, for our company, the TV exposure of the men in the U.S and then the TV exposure for the women in Asia, is very, very important to us as a business.

“Ironically, Asian golf suits much more the women’s market and with men much more in the U.S. market which are both very big areas for us and where we manage money for clients.”

And don’t expect to see Gilbert just fade into retirement as he is keen to maintain he relationship with some of the game’s greats including fellow Aberdonian, Paul Lawrie.

Gilbert and Lawrie teamed in 2001 to win the inaugural and rain-interrupted Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews, and with Lawrie the first male golf to win a golf tournament using the then new Callaway 2Ball putter.

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