23 Sep 2021

Leadership Succession at Nationwide Building Society

Nationwide Building Society announces its succession plan to support an orderly transition to new leadership. The planned transition will enable the Society to continue delivering on its strategic priorities and demonstrate the difference it provides through better service and value to its members.

Having led the Society since 2016, Chief Executive Joe Garner has asked the Board to commence the process of finding his successor. Under Joe’s leadership, and despite the pandemic, the Society has grown by over 20% and significantly increased its financial strength and resilience. Joe believes that an orderly transition will give new leadership the strategic optionality to build on this success and take the Society on to the next phase of its development.

Under Joe’s leadership, as well as the significant growth in the balance sheet, the Society has grown its membership by 2 million members to over 16 million and returned nearly £3billion in member financial benefit. It has also grown its stock of residential mortgages by £28billion and in 2020 the Society hit its long-term target of holding 10 per cent of UK current accounts. Nationwide has remained first amongst its peer group for customer satisfaction for the last five years and was awarded the Which? Banking Brand of the Year for the fourth successive time.1

Earlier in the year David Roberts, Nationwide’s Chair since 2015, requested that the Society’s Board start the process to select a new Chair ensuring an orderly succession and the continuity of Board leadership as the country emerges from the pandemic. After a full and independent selection process, the Board is pleased to announce that Kevin Parry, the Society’s current Senior Independent Director, has been appointed Deputy Chair and Chair Elect. The Board’s expectation is for Kevin to assume the role of Chair by March 2022 and, as Chair Elect, he will lead the process to appoint the Chief Executive’s successor.

Kevin joined Nationwide as a non-Executive Director in 2016 and has been the Senior Independent Director on the Board since January 2020. Kevin is currently Chair of Royal London Mutual Insurance Society and a non-Executive Director at Daily Mail and General Trust plc.

David Roberts, Chair of Nationwide, said:

“Joe has made an outstanding contribution as leader of Nationwide. He has led the Society through the challenges of Brexit and Covid, and we have emerged in robust financial health able to focus on supporting our members as the country rebuilds from the effects of the pandemic. Over the last six years, the growth in our membership, mortgage lending and deposits aligned with our consistently superior customer service is testament to Joe’s focus on delivering the things that are important to our members.

“By putting in place an orderly transition, we will ensure a smooth handover to new leadership and continuity in the running of the Society.”

Joe Garner, Chief Executive, said: 

“Nationwide is one of the UK’s largest financial services organisations but most significantly it is mutual-owned and run for the benefit of its 16 million members.  It is therefore a unique privilege to lead such an organisation, and our achievements are credit to our loyal and committed employees who have risen to the recent challenges of COVID so well.  Together we have faced some of the most significant and extraordinary circumstances but have remained resolute in our focus on meeting the needs of our members.

“I believe that the Society is in excellent health with a loyal membership and great commitment to working for a mutual organisation that has the interests of society and its members at its heart. The foundations we’ve laid down in recent years will enable my successor to continue to grow the Society and ensure we are ready to meet the future needs of our members. Until that point, I am absolutely focused on continuing to lead and deliver on our priorities.”

Kevin Parry, Senior Independent Director, said: 

“Nationwide Building Society has been part of the UK’s economic and social fabric for over 150 years, and I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to help shape its future. I intend to work with my colleagues to engage all our energy and experience to continuing the development of the business in accordance with the principles of mutuality that deliver great service and value for our members.

“There will be a transitional period into the role, but I’d like to thank David at this point for his dedication and commitment to the Society over the last 7 years. It is in no small part thanks to him, and to Joe, that we move into the future with confidence and certainty.”

Notes to editors

Notes to Editor:

  1. Financial and service comparisons taken from Nationwide Building Society’s Annual Report Accounts 2016 versus 2021. The balance sheet grew by 22% in the period to £255billion from £209billion.