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Our Directors are independent in character and judgement, are free of any relationship or circumstance which could interfere with the exercise of their judgement, and bring wide and varied commercial experience to Board deliberations and continue to represent the interests of the Society’s members.


Board appointments are subject to ratification by a members' vote at the Society's AGM

Sarah Evans web

Sarah Evans
BSc (Hons) Sp

Sarah Evans was appointed to the Board in 2008 and became Chairman in 2013. Sarah is a Chartered Accountant and was a former partner in the financial services practice of Ernst & Young specialising in financial crime and regulatory investigations. Sarah is also Non-Executive Chairman of The International Exhibition Co-operative Wine Society (“the Wine Society”), another mutual and Chairman of the Trustees of the Ipswich Building Society Pension & Life Assurance Scheme.

Committees: Board Risk & Compliance, Chairman’s & Nominations (Chairman), Audit and Remuneration

Kieron Blackburn web

Kieron Blackburn
TD, BSc (Hons),
Finance Director

Kieron Blackburn joined the Society in 2008 as General Manager, Finance. He was appointed to the Board on 30 November 2008 as Finance Director. He is a Chartered Accountant and Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers. Before joining the Society, Kieron spent 12 years with Nationwide Building Society, latterly as Finance Director, UCB HomeLoans Ltd, a Nationwide subsidiary and 7 years with Midland Bank. Kieron has served for 35 years with the Army Reserve.

Committees: Board Risk & Compliance, Assets & Liabilities (Chairman), Retail Credit Risk and Operational Risk

Valerie Dias web

Valerie Dias
Non Executive Director

Valerie Dias was appointed to the Board in 2015 and she chairs the Audit Committee. Until September 2016, Valerie was the Chief Risk & Compliance Officer and a member of the Executive team at Visa Europe. Valerie, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Certified Accountants, previously held the position of Chief Financial Officer from 1999 to 2006 at Visa Europe. She is a Non-Executive Director at Hastings Insurance Services Limited, a Trustee at the Board of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) where she also chairs its Audit Committee and a Trustee at the Board of UFI (University for Industry).

Committees: Board Risk & Compliance, Audit (Chairman) and Remuneration

Peter Elcock web

Peter Elcock
Non Executive Director

Peter Elcock joined the Board on 1 June 2015 and is Executive Director and Chief Risk Officer at Charter Court Financial Services Group Ltd (CCFS) and Board member of all CCFS group companies. He was also Chief Risk Officer at the Coventry Building Society, and prior to this spent 27 years at Barclays. Peter founded Cornhill Consulting, which provides specialist credit, liquidity, capital and regulatory risk consultancy and software to building societies and banks in the UK and overseas. Peter is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, has a Finance Degree and an MBA from Exeter University.

Committees: Board Risk & Compliance and Audit

Alan Harris

Alan Harris
Non Executive Director

Alan Harris was appointed to the Board in 2011. Alan is a Chartered Insurer and a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute. He holds an MBA from City University Business School and is an alumnus of the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School. Alan is the former Operations Director of NFU Mutual and was also Chief Executive of Avon Insurance PLC. Alan holds Non-Executive roles with three Aegon companies and is a Governor and Director of Prince Henry’s High School Academy Trust.

Committees: Board Risk & Compliance (Chairman), Chairman’s & Nominations and Remuneration

Richard Norrington web

Richard Norrington MA (Hons)
Chief Executive

Richard Norrington, born in 1965, was appointed to the Board on 30 November 2016 and became Chief Executive Officer on 1 December 2016, following the announcement of Paul Winter’s retirement. Richard has extensive leadership experience in the financial services sector, in a career spanning nearly three decades. He spent 16 years with Barclays Bank PLC, and, more recently, ten years at Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank where as regional director he had responsibility for the East of England area.

Committees: Board Risk and Compliance, Retail Credit Risk, Assets and Liabilities, Conduct Risk, Chairman’s and Nominations, Operational Risk

Steve Reid web

Steve Reid FCIOBS, MA
Non Executive Director

Steve Reid was appointed to the Board in November 2016. Steve has spent his entire career in the Financial Services industry. During this time he has held Executive roles with the Woolwich Building Society, Barclays Bank PLC, National Australia Group Europe and latterly as CEO of Allied Irish Bank (UK). Steve is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland.

Committees: Board Risk & Compliance


Michelle Tennens web

Michelle Tennens
FCIM, DipM, DipTh
Non-Executive Director & Senior Independent Director

Michelle Tennens was appointed to the Board in 2006. Michelle is the Senior Independent Director for the Society focusing on achieving a fair deal for members. A specialist in the field of marketing, Michelle is the Founding Director of redPepper Marketing Ltd. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Committees: Board Risk & Compliance and Chairman’s & Nominations

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