Dunfermline’s demise and déja-vu

The demise of Dunfermline seems to have opened a particularly unpleasant can of worms for some in the mutual sector if the letter from Financial Services Authority chairman Lord Turner to chancellor Alistair Darling on April 17 is anything to go by.

But there’s a human interest story here too, in that the society’s new chief executive Jim Willens, only appointed on January 1, finds himself back in the Nationwide fold – even if only on a temporary basis.

Willens left the UK’s leading society with a £1m payoff back in 2007.

Then head of group services, Willens was one of a number of senior executives who received £3.4m in exit fees that year in a boardroom reshuffle that saw Graham Beale replace Philip Williamson as chief executive.

For the record, Williamson was rewarded with a £1.6m compensation deal that brought his overall remuneration that year to £3.2m.

As for Willens’ future at Nationwide, which he originally joined as a management trainee in 1978, Chatroom has the inside track.

“Willens has stepped down from operational responsibility and is assisting us in effecting an orderly transfer,” Chatroom was informed.

But in fairness to Nationwide, this statement is at least a tad more realistic than Dunfermline chairman Jim Faulds’ tribute to the outgoing chief executive of the society when he was handing over the baton of leadership to Willens.

“Graeme Dalziel’s stewardship has been first class,” Faulds said at the time. “He has led the society through an era of growth and leaves it stronger than he found it.”