The butler could still serve up a schism

The election deadline for Nationwide Building Society's non-executive board looms and there is still no official word from Michael Hardern, writes Kerry Benefield. Mr Hardern (left), the self-employed butler who jumped into the race last year trumpeting the cause of demutualisation only to meet an overwhelming defeat, has been in contact with Nationwide but no application has been submitted.

"He has been in touch with the society's secretary," a spokesman said yesterday. "He has said to us that he intends to run." If he does, the race for the available seats will be between Mr Hardern, three incumbents and Andrew Muir, a recruitment consultant from Slough.

Mr Muir has said he wants Nationwide to make payouts of between pounds 500 and pounds 5,000 to its members and, like Mr Hardern, is in favour of demutualising.