A few surprises this month, with some familiar names reappearing in unexpected places and others just disappearing, at least for the time being.
Among the surprising reappearances is John Tiner (pictured), erstwhile boss of the Financial Services Authority, who retired just over six months ago. He has emerged as chief executive of Clive Cowdrey’s Resolution which earlier this year attempted to buy Bradford & Bingley and is also reported to have made overtures to Alliance & Leicester before it embraced Bank Santander. Resolution’s record in acquiring mortgage banks should improve with Tiner on board.
Among directors joining ahead of a £1bn flotation is Phil Hodkinson, formerly finance director at HBOS, so with a big kitty and possibly the support of earlier backers such as Prudential, Legal & General and Standard Life, big mergers and acquisitions activity may be on the agenda.
Witherspoon leaves UKValuation – again
Figuring among the disappeared, at least for the moment, is Mark Witherspoon, who founded automated valuation model provider UKValuation, left it to head up competitor Hometrack and then went to First American Core Logic, US parent company of title insurance provider First Title.
He then acquired his former company as a vehicle for a new proposition, Vector, a risk management platform of which he once said: “We can begin to set up a succession of risk and fraud-based services of which one component would be an AVM service.”
But last month a spokesman said: “UKValuation has undergone a restructure to enable us to weather the storm of challenging economic conditions and as a part of this restructure Witherspoon has been made redundant. Some of the work previously done in the UK will instead be carried out by our parent First American, which is the leading provider of AVMs in the US.”
According to the same spokesman, the company remains committed to the UK AVM market.
More disappearing tricks
Another among the disappeared, and perhaps more symptomatic of difficult times, is Clive Edwards, compliance officer at the Finance Industry Standards Association, who has been made redundant. His colleague Terry Hodgkinson has moved from full to part-time.
John Parker, chief executive of the secured loan standards body, said it was forced to take the decision after a growing number of secured loan firms pulled out of the market, resulting in lost members.
He added: “A number of firms aren’t renewing their membership and although there are some new ones setting up, we had to look at how best to manage our resources.”
FISA suffered a blow earlier this year when FirstPlus withdrew its membership, only to later withdraw from the market, leaving FISA with six lender members.
Nationwide’s sales and marketing director John Sutherland has also joined the ranks of the disappeared, although in his case it seems to be of his own volition. Press reports have suggested his resignation followed the society’s decision to bring in a board level marketing specialist but as Sutherland sat on the Nationwide board, it might have been have been a new emphasis on marketing over sales that triggered the move, rather than a status thing.
The society is remaining tight-lipped on the situation but in a statement emphasised Sutherland’s long and successful career with the society that spanned 20 years.
“John has led the centralisation of many of our back office processes and twice led the retail branch network,” we were informed. “He has been a loyal and passionate supporter of Nationwide throughout his career, and has made an important contribution to our business.”
That said, Nationwide is taking the opportunity to strengthen its “depth of specialist capability in the areas of retail product development, customer value management and segmentation and brand strategy. We have initiated an external search for suitable candidates to fulfil this key board role. While we complete that search, we have put on hold our plans to create a role of divisional director, marketing.”
Apparently, until a successor is appointed, the executive division of sales and marketing will report to Stuart Bernau, executive director.
Meanwhile, on the brighter side
News is less fraught at the Mansfield Building Society, which last month saw Nigel Quinton (on the left of our picture, with finance director Darren Garner) officially take over as chief executive following the retirement of David Fisher.
Quinton, who joined the society in February 2005 as director of finance and IT, is an accountant who has held senior and board roles with mutual building societies and limited companies. He will be responsible for formulating and implementing strategy and oversee the everyday operations, including forging closer links with members and local organisations.
His new finance director Darren Garner joins from ING Direct, having worked there in a number of senior positions including financial controller. He has also held senior roles at Vodafone and Abbey.
And on another positive note, GE Money Home Lending has app-ointed Ian Ferguson as chief operating officer, reporting to chief executive Colin Shave.
Ferguson joins from Kensington where he was chief operating officer. Prior to Kensington he held a number of senior positions including director for corporate planning and delivery at Zurich Financial Services and director of mortgage operations at Bradford & Bingley.
In his new role, Ferguson will be responsible for all GEMHL mortgage operations including originations, customer relations, collections and litigation.
With his experience in driving technology change at Kensington, he will also be responsible for deploying GEMHL’s significant technology investment and development. He takes up the post with immediate effect.
And finally, suggesting that there may be light at the end of the credit squeeze tunnel, Checkmate Mortgages, the lender founded by Stephen Knight, has appointed Peter Stimson (pictured right) commercial director with responsibility for marketing, products, strategy and flow agreements.
Prior to joining Checkmate, Stimson was executive director, structured finance at Lehman Brothers. He will report directly to Knight.
Checkmate is preparing for launch in Q1 2009 with capital provided by Knight, RIT Capital Partners and Lord Rothschild’s family interests.