Nationwide Estate Agents chief resigns suddenly

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NIGEL CONRADI, the managing director of the 300-branch Nationwide Estate Agents chain, has abruptly resigned, the latest of several departures from the building society's senior ranks, writes Patrick Hosking.

Nationwide yesterday confirmed the departure but declined to say if Mr Conradi would receive compensation for loss of office. He will leave on 31 August and will not be replaced.

Mr Conradi was recruited from Chestertons in April 1991 and was responsible for restructuring the division, closing 60 branches. Last year estate agency losses before interest worsened from pounds 11.8m to pounds 15.4m.

A Nationwide spokeswoman said: 'He's now seeking new challenges. He goes with our best wishes.' The two NEA managers responsible for North and South will now report directly to Peter Richardson, the retail director.

Yesterday Moody's, the debt rating agency, downgraded Nationwide's senior debt rating from AA3 to A1 and its subordinated debt rating from A2 to A3. About dollars 1bn of long-term debt is affected. It said the downgrading reflected Nationwide's asset quality problems and the associated credit expense.

Other departures from Nationwide over the past year include Daniel Hodson, the finance director, and John Hutchinson, corporate strategy director. Last week Sir Leonard Peach, a non-executive director, was voted off the board by the society's members.