In an unexpected move, UK life insurer Standard Life is coming to terms with the reality that it will lose its chairman within a year of its flotation on the FTSE 100.

According to reports in the UK press, Standard Life’s chairman Sir Brian Stewart has decided to leave his position at the insurer within 12 months of its initial public offering in order to concentrate on his other chairmanship role. Mr Stewart is currently also the chairman of major UK brewer Scottish and Newcastle.

Mr Stewart was expected to give up one of his chairs following Standard’s float because holding the chairmanship of two FTSE-listed companies at once is seen as running counter to corporate governance standards.

However, the revelation comes as a shock to the mutual life assurer, which had expected Mr Stewart to give up his brewery chairmanship to stay on at Standard. The company had hoped the experienced boardroom head would guide the company in its fledgling years as a public company.

Furthermore to the management disruption, the revelation of Mr Stewart’s departure could also damage Standard Life’s share valuation when it floats.