Standard Life Finance Director Alison Reed will step down next month, the insurer said, ending a week of speculation about her future that has prompted concerns over management changes at the former mutual.

Standard Life which listed on the stock market in July, ending eight decades of mutual ownership had been expected to shake up its senior executive team in the medium term.

Chairman Brian Stewart said in June he would stand down once it was established as a listed company, while Chief Executive Sandy Crombie, 58, has said he plans to retire at 60.

But Reed was only appointed last year after a 12 month search by the Edinburgh based life insurer. Joining from retailer Marks & Spencer, she replaced John Hylands, who moved on to lead the project to demutualise Standard Life.

Standard Life confirmed Reed's departure on Monday after sources close to the situation said last week she was set to go.

It does create an atmosphere of uncertainty, analyst Bruno Paulson at Sanford Bernstein said. But in terms of the actual running of the company, the two biggest parts are the UK life business and asset management business they are both being run by people who are staying.

Both Trevor Matthews, head of life and pensions and a former Manulife executive, and Standard Life Investments Chief Executive Keith Skeoch are seen as potential candidates to replace Crombie when he retires.

Stewart, who is also chairman of FTSE 100 brewer Scottish & Newcastle, is widely expected to be replaced by his current deputy Gerry Grimstone.

The country's fifth largest life insurer said on Monday it had already started the process of appointing a successor for Reed. She is due to leave on October 31.

Analysts say they expect Standard Life to bring in an outsider with experience of a publicly listed firm to take up the financial director post, possibly from a rival insurer.

But the search could be tough, with former mutual Friends Provident also looking to fill the finance director position after it appointed incumbent Philip Moore to replace Chief Executive Keith Satchell when he retires next year.

Standard Life, which joined the FTSE 100 last week, has seen its shares rise 10 percent since it listed in July.

On Monday, the stock was trading up 0.8 percent at 08:38 GMT (9:38 a.m. British time) at 270 1/4 pence, broadly in line with the European sector.

Standard Life is due to report its first half year results as a listed company on Wednesday.