Meet The Board
Our Board comprises of people who possess a broad range of skills, bringing wide and varied commercial experience. They provide strategic direction and oversight to help the Society fulfil its vision. All our Non-Executive Directors are independent, in both character and judgement - they have no relationships or circumstances which could interfere with their ability to represent our members.
E. Sarah Evans, Chairman
Sarah joined the Board on 30th November 2008 and was appointed Chairman in March 2013. Sarah is a Chartered Accountant and a former partner in the financial services practice of Ernst & Young where she specialised in financial crime and regulatory investigations. Sarah is also the Chairman of “The Wine Society” which too is a mutual organisation. Sarah strongly believes in the mutual model as one which offers great benefits to members.
Sarah is a member of the following committees: Board Risk, Chairman’s and Nominations (Chairman).
When Sarah isn’t at a Board meeting of the building society or trying the latest wine from The Wine Society she enjoys horse riding and playing netball.
Derek Bowden, Deputy Chairman
Derek Bowden joined the Board in 2006 and took the reins as the Deputy Chairman from December 2011. Derek is Chief Executive of Essex Cricket and has held senior positions at Ipswich Town Football Club and Saatchi & Saatchi in the past.
Derek is a member of the following committees: Board Risk, Audit and Compliance, Remuneration (Chairman).
Derek really enjoys cricket and football. Close to his love of sport, is his love of music, he’s a die hard Genesis fan (preferring the Peter Gabriel to Phil Collins) and a regular visitor to France. Bon Travail Derek!
Finance Director (Executive Director)
Kieron Blackburn was appointed Finance Director in 2008. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant and is also a Chartered Banker. Kieron worked for the Nationwide Building Society before he joined Ipswich Building Society. He has also served with the Territorial Army for 30 years.
Kieron is a member of the following committees: Board Risk, Assets and Liabilities, Retail Credit Risk, Operational Risk (Chairman).
In his spare time, Kieron enjoys canoeing. When he’s not in the office you’re most likely to find him on the water! Kieron has taken part in the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race (a 125 mile non-stop race) for a number of years. Last year he raced to raise funds for East Anglia Children’s Hospice.
Valerie Dias, Non Executive Director
Valerie Dias was appointed to the Board in March 2015. She is the Chief Risk Officer and member of the executive team at Visa Europe and is a Fellow of the Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute (CCMI).
Her enormous experience in risk and finance on the Board will undoubtedly complement management's expertise in these fields.
In addition to being a member of the Board, Valerie is a member of the following committees: Board Risk, Audit & Compliance (Chairman) and Assets and Liabilities.
Valerie is an ardent Arsenal football fan & season ticket holder. In her spare time, she loves travelling and seeing new places, gardening and going to music gigs.
Peter Elcock, Non Executive Director
Peter joined the Society's Board on 1 June 2015 and is the founder and CEO of Cornhill Consulting which provides specialist credit, liquidity, capital and regulatory risk management consultancy and associated software solutions to building societies and banks in the UK and overseas.
Prior to this, he was chief risk officer at the Coventry Building Society, having also spent 27 years in Barclays. Peter has undertaken a number of senior operational and executive roles in the financial services sector, is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, has a Finance Degree and an MBA from Exeter University.
Peter enjoys spending time with his two daughters and is a keen follower of football.
Alan Harris, Non Executive Director
Alan Harris joined the Board in 2011. Alan holds an MBA, is a Chartered Insurer and a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute. Alan is also the former Operations Director of NFU Mutual and the former Chief Executive of Avon Insurance Plc. He also holds Non-Executive roles at the Aegon companies; Stonebridge International Insurance Ltd, ADMS Europe Ltd and Cornerstone International Holdings Ltd. When Alan isn’t attending meetings for his Non Executive commitments he is also a Governor and Director of Prince Henry’s High School Academy Trust. Alan’s wide experience in retail financial services, regulation and risk and governance strengthens and enriches the Board in these crucial areas.
Alan is a member of the following committees: Board Risk (Chairman), Chairman’s and Nominations, Retail Credit Risk.
When Alan can find the time he enjoys watching rugby.
Michelle Tennens, Non Executive Director & Senior Independent Director
Michelle Tennens has been a Board member since 2006. Michelle is the founding director of redPepper Marketing Ltd and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
She brings her tremendous marketing skills to the Board and is also our Senior Independent Director. Michelle focuses on achieving a fair deal and positive outcomes for our members.
Michelle is a member of the following committees: Board Risk, Remuneration, Chairman’s and Nominations, Conduct Risk.
Michelle is fantastic at playing traditional African drums. She is a part of a drumming group and has given various performances abroad. When not at work, she’ll be drumming or developing her next marketing project.
Richard Norrington MA, Chief Executive
Richard Norrington 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.
Steve Reid, Non Executive Director
Steve Reid, born in 1963, 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, 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.