Nationwide hires comms director from UK charity

Nationwide Building Society has turned to the charity sector to fill its newly created top comms role.

Cancer Research UK’s executive director for policy and comms, Maxine Taylor, will join the building society on 11 February. She will rep­ort to Nationwide group dev­elopment director Tony Prestedge.

‘Nationwide is a mutual business and I was already a customer,’ said Taylor, who was headhunted for the role. ‘It is always among the Sunday Times’ top ten employers.’

After an internal reshuffle, Taylor’s role will include CSR responsibility as well as general corporate affairs.

‘Financial services is an iss­ue-rich sector,’ said Taylor. ‘My focus will be on maintaining Nationwide’s good reputation.’

Taylor improved her own reputation during a successful three years at Cancer Research, in which she successfully lobbied for the smoking ban in public places.

Prior to Cancer Research, Taylor was director of corporate affairs for Eli Lilly & Co, the firm’s top UK comms role. Before that she was marketing and comms director at the British Heart Foundation and a private secretary in the Cabinet Office.

She also spent 12 years at consultancies, including Shandwick and the then start-up Consolidated.

Prestedge said Taylor would be charged with continuing ‘to drive forward our consumer-focused mutual agenda’.

As a mutual building society, Nationwide is owned by its members – a practice started 200 years ago when groups of people would co-operate financially with the building of houses.

In the past few years many traditional building societies have converted to PLCs, merged, or been bought by banks, including Abbey National, Cheltenham & Gloucester, and Halifax.

Nationwide wants to emp­hasise it has retained its mutual status, and highlight the advantages of this.

Nationwide announced it was merging with the Portman Building Society last year, finalising the deal in June.

 

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