A chief executive at one of the UK’s largest financial services companies has apologised for using the phrase “nigger in the woodpile”.
Trevor Matthews, head of Standard Life’s life and pensions business, made the comment at a staff presentation at its Edinburgh headquarters on Monday.
Matthews has posted an apology on the company’s internal website and said the comment was “a terrible mistake”.
He made the remark while he was setting out the firm’s employee pension proposals. A formal complaint is understood to have been made by a member of staff.
Matthews told staff: “I deeply regret saying what I did – it is not in any way a reflection of what I think. As soon as the words came from my lips I realised that I had made a serious mistake by using a colloquialism that is not in any way acceptable today.”
Willie Gibson, regional officer at Amicus, said: “This is absolutely scandalous. Remarks of this nature are not welcome in any walk of life, let alone at presentations of a flagship Scottish insurance company.”
The union is planning to submit a formal request to Standard Life to discuss a future relationship with the company.