Nationwide chief set to quit on a high note

Nationwide CEO Beale leaves after a record year for the mutual lender
Nationwide CEO Beale leaves after a record year for the mutual lender

Nationwide boss Graham Beale has announced that he is to retire after nine years in the job as Britain’s biggest building society declared record annual profits.

Mr Beale will leave the mutual around the time of the firm’s annual meeting in July next year.

It will begin the hunt for a new boss over the coming months.

Annual results showed underlying pre-tax profits rose 32 per cent to £1.2 billion in the year to April 4, fuelled by a buoyant housing market, as the Nationwide regained its spot as the country’s second largest mortgage provider behind Halifax, overtaking Santander.

But it warned that it expected to grow at a more moderate pace compared to its last two years, with demand for mortgages beginning to ease.

It said its gross mortgage lending was down 3.6 per cent to £27.1bn, over the period.

Mr Beale said: “This is one of the strongest sets of results we have ever announced, demonstrating that, yet again, it is possible to build a successful business by doing the right thing.

“Nationwide is in great shape. Succession of leadership is best dealt with from a position of strength and hence the time has come for the society to identify and appoint its next chief executive.”

Nationwide said it expected the UK recovery to continue in the face of a Bank of England interest rate hike that it expects in the first half of next year.

It sees the housing market remaining resilient in the face of gradual rate rises, due to the strengthening jobs picture and the under-supply of available homes.