The Business On... Iain Cornish, Chief executive, Yorkshire BS

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The Independent Online

Not another well-paid banker?

Well, he's not doing too badly for himself on an annual salary of around £350,000, but he's hardly in Bob Diamond's league. They do things differently in the building society sector you know, not tomention Yorkshire.

What, no bonus at all?

Mr Cornish hasn't taken one since 2007, when a £140,000 payment caused a few raised eyebrows because the country's second largest building society had a difficult time of it that year.

Is that why he's leaving?

That's unkind. No, having just shepherded Yorkshire through a merger with Chelsea Building Society, not to mention the small matter of the financial crisis, he says he wants a break. But he's promised to stick around until Yorkshire's board has found a replacement to serve the societys 2.7 millionmembers.

Is he a local boy?

You don't have to be born in Yorkshire to work there these days. Mr Cornish is from London, as it happens, where he qualified as an accountant at KPMG. But he's an adopted Northerner, joining Bradford & Bingley – remember them? – in 1989 before moving to Yorkshire in 1992 (he was appointed chief executive in 2003). He lives in Ilkley, with his wife, whom he met at the society, and two kids.

So what will he do next?

He says he has no plans as yet, but expect him to pop up in a senior role somewhere – he's only 48. In the meantime, he'll have more time for marathon training – he's a keen runner – and for his research into the First World War. One of Mr Cornish's uncles died at the Battle of the Somme, piquing his interest.

And what about Yorkshire?

It will depend on the new chief executive, but expansion may be on the cards. Mr Cornish has talked about making a tilt for Northern Rock, should the Government decide to return the nationalised bank to the mutual sector, rather than going for a straightforward privatisation.