Woolwich chief exec Peacock to step down

Mortgage brokers have expressed regret at news that The Woolwich chief executive Lynne Peacock is to step down early this year.

Peacock has been with the former building society for 19 years and has worked in almost every department, most recently as operations director. She was behind The Woolwich Open Plan account.

Peacock originally decided to leave after The Woolwich was taken over by Barclays but was persuaded to stay. Although she sat on the board of The Woolwich, she was not given a seat on the board of the enlarged group, despite being considered in the City as a prime candidate to take over from ex-Abbey National chief executive Ian Harley.

A spokeswoman for the bank says Peacock&#39s departure has not yet been confirmed.

This latest decision to leave is reported to be Peacock&#39s own and not connected with the high volume of complaints about the bank&#39s poor customer and broker service, as reported in Mortgage Strategy throughout last year. Brokers believe that Peacock&#39s departure will do nothing to help these service issues.

Mike Fitzgerald, sales director at Brentwood-based Brentchase Financial Services, says: “It&#39s a shame she&#39s leaving. She is good at her job, but she&#39s had to carry the can for what has been said about The Woolwich. When she&#39s gone it will be in an even worse state – she introduced a lot of new concepts.”

And Kevin Morgan, managing director of Hitchin-based EZI UK, adds: “She is one of the few women in a position of power and influence in the financial services industry, and is well-respected. The Woolwich has a service problem in common with many other new banks in a competitive market, and it needs a good chief executive.”