A&L appoints Bennett as chief executive

Alliance & Leicester named group finance director David Bennett as its new group chief executive last week.

At the same time, the lender re-ported that in the first three months of 2007 its share of the mortgage market fell to 3.9% – down from 4.4% in 2006.

A&L’s full-year results for 2006 re-veal it experienced stagnant growth with net mortgage lending of £4.9bn, despite gross mortgage lending rising from £11.1bn to £12.6bn.

Bennett will take up the post of chief executive on July 27. This follows outgoing group chief executive Richard Pym’s announcement in February that he was stepping down and that a re-placement should be found. Pym retires on July 27.

Chris Rhodes, presently managing director for retail banking at A&L, will become group finance director.

A&L’s retail banking business will report directly to Bennett, while the commercial banking business will report to wholesale banking managing director Richard Banks.

Sir Derek Higgs, chairman of A&L, says: “We are deligh-ted to appoint Bennett as our group chief executive. In his eight years with the group, he has proved he has outstanding leadership abilities as well as good judgement.”

Bennett says: “I welcome the opportunity to lead A&L and to ensure that the growing momentum in our business continues. A&L has a great management team and I have every confidence in our continuing success.”

Pym adds: “It has been an honour to be chief executive of A&L. This is a first rate organisation with first rate people. In Bennett, the board has appointed a talented leader who will bring flair and drive to the business.”

A&L’s Q1 results also show it had a 3.5% share of UK mortgage balances. Its unsecured personal loan gross ad-vances were £802m.