The Business On... Anne Gunther, Chief executive, N&P
Wednesday 20 April 2011
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Sorry to keep you waiting. Anne Gunther made her name in banking in the Nineties as Ms Call Centres, when she headed telephone banking for NatWest and tried to convince a sceptical nation that it would be better serviced from central phone banks than from the local branch.
What did she do for an encore?
Only became one of the grandees of British banking, running Standard Life Bank, the life insurer's foray into mortgages and savings, for seven years. And chairing the Council of Mortgage Lenders for a year, too.
So this is a coup for N&P?
Yes, and it could do with catching a break. Despite a history stretching back 150 years, the august Norwich & Peterborough Building Society has been brought to the brink of oblivion by the mis-selling of risky Keydata investment products to thousands of its risk-averse customers. The scandal claimed Matthew Bullock, the former chief executive, in January.
It won't be plain sailing then?
Certainly not, but she is used to choppy waters. Sailing is actually one of her hobbies, something she is fond of doing off the coast of Devon. Cooking for friends and walking are on her list of relaxation tips, too.
What are her prospects at N&P?
Ms Gunther will need all her smarts when she starts work this morning. After being forced to promise the repayment of £51m to mis-selling victims, and fined £1.4m earlier this week by the Financial Services Authority, N&P is in talks with Yorkshire Building Society, a richer mutual which wants to buy it.
It could be a short stint, then
Let's see. Gordon Horsfield, her chairman at N&P, said yesterday that "the management of change" is one of her key skills. Whatever happens, change is not something that N&P will be able to avoid.
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