Leeds Building Society

Non-Executive Director

Case studies

Background

Leeds Building Society is the UK’s fifth largest society with assets of £10.8billion and over 704,000 members. The Society’s core business model is based around raising retail deposits from individuals which are then lent via mortgage loan to finance residential property purchase. They also provide a range of ancillary products designed to meet the needs of savers and home buyers.

Warren Partners has built a strong relationship with The Society over a number of years. This particular assignment to find a Non-Executive Director, followed on from an earlier successful assignment to find a Non-Executive Director with strong marketing and digital experience which resulted in the appointment of Philippa Brown, CEO of Omnicom Media Group.

The requirement

Our client was seeking strong technology and operational risk experience to support their transition from their core system to a new supplier. They were also looking for someone with exposure to large scale systems and an understanding of complex projects to add value not purely at this juncture, but in the future as key technology investment plans are considered.

The candidates

CIO’s were a natural group to consider but we felt that emphasis must be placed on board experience and demonstrable broad business acumen. Individuals needed to be skilled at effectively contributing to strategy from a technology perspective whilst also bringing an understanding of operational risk, how it is managed and mitigated in regulatory environments. With this in mind, and given the speed of technological change, we targeted individuals who had experienced at least two cycles of technological shift in sectors that were experiencing significant change. This led us to look for candidates from regulated industries such as telecoms, rail and financial services industries.

What added value did Warren Partners bring?

We have a strong Non-Executive Director appointment track record and were able to leverage this to identify a strong pool of candidates. We not only assessed experience and communication style, we looked carefully at motivation and other commitments, alongside board diversity and future growth plans. We wanted our appointee to add value both immediately and over time. The two candidates who went through to final interview stage were such a good match that the board felt either were appointable which also made gaining regulatory approval very straightforward.

The outcome

Susan Cooklin, CIO of Network Rail joined the board in February 2014. She is responsible for an IT budget of £1billion. The complexity, scope and speed of change in rail together with its strict regulatory framework was exactly and experience Leeds Building Society needed.


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