N&P chief set to retire when successor found

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THE long-serving boss of the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society (N&P) has announced his retirement.

Matthew Bullock (60), chief executive of N&P, said yesterday that he will retire once a successor is found.

He has served in the post for the last 12 years and has been credited for helping N&P survive the worldwide financial crisis.

However, an £18 million class action will be brought against the company from hundreds of savers following the collapse of the Keydata fund during his time.

Around 400 people are expected to report the N&P to the Financial Ombudsman Services after claiming they gave poor advice about investments with Keydata.

Mr Bullock said: “Having steered the society through many changes, including the worst of the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, now is an appropriate time to find a successor.

“Inevitably the Keydata issue has dominated much of the last 12 months.

“But over the last 12 years it has been providing personal service and engagement with the needs of members and staff which have been my overriding passions, which I shall miss.”

Mr Bullock spent 24 years with Barclays Bank, including a number of senior positions, before joining N&P as chief executive in February 1999.

He has also served as a member of the Building Societies’ Association since 2003 and was its chairman from 2006 to 2007.

Mr Bullock added: “I will miss the straightforward, hardworking, pleasant and friendly people of Peterborough with who I’ve worked for the last 12 years.

“I hope my legacy will be a re-recognition of the importance of personal service in branches in personal finance.

“The biggest change in finance during my time at N&P has been people forgetting the importance of thrift and savings.”

The shadow of the collapse of Keydata has loomed over N&P, with people such as Bob Hidderley, of Duck Street, Elton, claiming they stand to lose £130,000 from the investment.

His impending retirement will not affect anybody’s claims against N&P.

Mr Bullock said: “If people feel they were misled by the mis-representations of Keydata they need to turn to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

“We have always said that any customers who feel they have a claim against the society for mis-selling should contact us and complain.

“My departure does not change our readiness to stand up for our responsibilities in that regard.”

N&P’s board has already started the search for Mr Bullock’s successor but the existing chief executive will not be involved in the process.

Chairman Gordon Horsfield said: “He will be a difficult act to follow.

“On behalf of the board I would like to record our appreciation to Matthew for his commitment to the society and its members.

“He introduced many innovative changes at N&P during his term as our chief executive.

“More recently, he led the society through the most difficult period for many UK financial services businesses following the global financial crisis in 2008.”