Name: Philip Williamson
Job title: Chief executive.
Where do you live? My family home is in Sussex but I have a small house near Swindon where I stay also.
Describe your current job:
I manage the world’s largest society. As the second-largest retail deposit-taker in the country and the fourth-largest mortgage provider, Nationwide has 11.5 million members.
What was your first and last job?
I was a graduate trainee for Lloyds bank in 1970. The chief executive of Nationwide role will be my last full-time job because I am about to retire, handing over the reins to our finance director, Graham Beale.
What did you do in between?
After leaving Lloyds I worked with property group UK Land plc before joining Nationwide in 1991 to head up the commercial lending area of the business. In 1994 I was promoted to divisional director and joined theboard in 1996.
How does your career to date compare with your youthful aspirations?
I have been lucky. Not many people get the chance to be a chief executive of an important society. I never dreamt that such a thing would be possible when I started out in the business world.
What has been the defining point of your career and why?
I went to Harvard Business School in the US 1986.This experience gave me the belief and confidence in myself I needed to run a big business.
And the most embarrassing?
A waiter spilt a full tray of drinks over me in front of my colleagues. I was soaked.
Have you achieved all your work ambitions?
Definitely. I am extremely proud of what my team has achieved at Nationwide over the past five and a half years.
How many mortgage payments do you have left? None. I paid it off last year.
None. I paid it off last year.
What’s your holiday destination?
South Carolina. It has great golf courses, lovely beaches, excellent birdlife (the feathered kind), good food and music.
What would you take to a desert island and why?
You’ll never walk alone by Gerry & the Pacemakers, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and a sand wedge to improve my bunker play.
Who is your secret celebrity crush?
The singer Anastasia. She is beautiful.
What’s your mobile ringtone?
The one it came with.
What’s the most expensive gadget you’ve ever bought?
I collect stamps and have a little machine that helps me identify the number of perforations on each stamp.
What’s the craziest hobby you’ve ever attempted?
It might not be that crazy but growing up in Liverpool we used to cycle around the docks and spot ships. I’m now a keen bird spotter – again, the feathered variety only.