Standard Life is believed to be preparing a shake up of senior management that could include the exit of finance director Alison Reed, The Guardian newspaper reported in Wednesday's editions.

Citing unnamed City sources, the daily said Britain's fifth largest life insurer was mulling how to tell the stock market that Reed was ready to depart, possibly as early as December, but would stay on until a replacement was found.

It said the company had declined to comment.

Edinburgh based Standard Life hired Reed in April.

She had previously worked for more than 20 years at high street retailer Marks & Spencer Group but lost her position as finance director a post she had held since 2001 in a management reshuffle.