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Movers and Shakers

New order takes shape in the nationalised sector

Dan Watkins, (pictured, top), previously chief executive of retail products at HBOS, has landed the top job of managing director for mortgages at the new Lloyds Banking Group, while a man he is likely to be seeing a lot of – John Kingman – is taking over as chief executive of UK Financial Investments.

Kingman (pictured, bottom), until recently a senior civil servant at the Treasury, describes his new empire as his “little start-up business” which suggests that he has a sense of humour – the job will involve looking after the £37bn of public money that has been invested in HBOS, Lloyds TSB and Northern Rock, companies that collectively enjoy a massive monopoly in the UK mortgage market,

The appointment of Watkins brought to an end weeks of speculation internally within HBOS as to who would be head of mortgages in the enlarged group. Joy Griffiths, managing director of mortgages at Lloyds TSB, was rumoured to be one of the other candidates considered for the position. Instead, Griffiths has been made managing director of the community bank and will be in charge of Lloyds TSB-branded branches in the Lloyds Banking Group.

Watkins was previously chief executive of retail products at HBOS with responsibility for the design and manufacture of retail products in the UK, as well as marketing, e-commerce and operations for HBOS’ retail division.

Born in 1962, he graduated from Oxford in 1985 with a degree in politics, philosophy and economics. He worked in the City for Morgan Grenfell before joining Birmingham Midshires in 1993 where he worked in risk management and became treasurer in 1996.

Appointed managing director of Birmingham Midshires in September 2001, he led the business through a period of significant change and growth as it became part of the HBOS group.

In January 2005 Watkins became head of retail risk. He was appointed to the position of group risk director in March 2006 and appointed to the board of HBOS in September 2007, taking up the post of chief executive, retail products.

Kingman is no lightweight either. He played a major role during the crisis days at Northern Rock and has the ears and confidence of both chancellor Alistair Darling and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Said to have a powerful intellect – he graduated with a first class degree in history from St John’s College, Oxford before joining the Treasury as a graduate trainee in 1991 – he also has a reputation as a tough negotiator. That has to be a useful combination of talents given his brief to ‘protect and create value for the taxpayer’ in banks which are being charged 12% on their £37bn while also being expected to lend at 2007 levels and pass on Bank base rate cuts in full.

But if all else fails, Kingman could fall back on a job in journalism. Back in 1995 he interrupted his career at the Treasury to spend two years a Lex columnist on the Financial Times.

Payne re-emerges triumphant at Assurant

Meanwhile, Nigel Payne, who resigned as managing director of BM Solutions last autumn, has re-emerged as managing director of Assurant Solutions Intermediary, the specialist in the mortgage broker and intermediary markets. ASI delivers a range of general insurance products.

Ian Moffatt, president of European businesses at Assurant Solutions, said: “We are fortunate to have Nigel heading up ASI. He is an experienced managing director with outstanding market knowledge.

“When economic conditions are challenging as they are at the moment, it is a real asset to have innovative thinkers like Nigel who can drive initiatives to help support the mortgage intermediaries and brokers who work with us.”

Payne spent more than 20 years at HBOS, occupying a variety of senior management positions including managing director of The Mortgage Business and head of savings. Prior to joining HBOS he worked at Leeds Permanent Building Society as strategic planning manager.

Ward rejoins IMLA executive as director

Tony Ward, chief executive of Home Funding, has been elected to the executive of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, so returning to the body of which he was once chairman.

Godfrey Blight, chairman of IMLA, said: “I am pleased to welcome Tony back onto the IMLA board.

“He brings with him a strong background in banking and finance in a career that has stretched over more than 30 years. His expertise in the intermediary lending sector is a welcome addition to the board.”

The IMLA board now comprises Blight (chairman), managing director, sales and marketing at GMAC-RFC; John Heron (deputy chairman), managing director of Paragon Mortgages; Colin Shave, chief executive officer of GE Money Home Lending; Bob Young, managing director of CHL Mortgages and Ward. Peter Williams is executive director of the lending industry body.

Leeds appoints two non-executive directors

Leeds Building Society has strengthened its board by appointing Ian Robertson and Bob Stott as non-executive directors.

Robertson, a qualified accountant, is currently a member of the Audit Advisory Board to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body and a non-executive director at the Homes and Communities Agency.

Robertson was group chief executive officer of house builders and property developers Wilson Bowden until June last year, at which time the company was sold to Barratts.

Prior to this, he was financial controller at Northern Foods and Terry’s of York.

Stott has extensive retail experience, having worked for Mars and Geest as well as William Morrison Supermarkets where, from 2002 until his retirement, he was joint managing director and chief executive. Stott is also a non-executive director of the governing body of the Rugby Football League.

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