Nationwide, the UK’s largest surviving building society, has
appointed a new communications chief to bang the drum for its mutual
Mike Lazenby, who took up the role this week, becomes the society’s
first head of communications. Formerly managing director of Nationwide’s
UCB Home Loans Corporation, Lazenby will head up 30-plus staff handling
PR, media, sponsorship, community affairs and internal communications in
Swindon, London, Glasgow and Sutton.
He is supported by Paul Atkinson, Nationwide’s existing head of external
Lazenby said his team would be forging more proactive
’There are a number of issues we want to talk about. Nationwide will
shortly be the biggest building society in the world and we want to
stress that, through our mutuality, we can offer a better deal than our
competitors.’ he stressed.
He said Nationwide, which currently uses Brunswick, Polhill
Communications and Beaumark, had no immediate plans for agency
’Obviously, we will be looking at our agencies and assessing their
We have recently changed our advertising agency GGT, but it’s not always
sensible to change everything at once,’ he said.
Lazenby, who was Nationwide’s head of housing before joining UCB, does
not have a conventional communications background. He has spent his
entire career in financial organisations, including Midland Bank and
Standard Chartered Bank, in such areas as financial management and
He denied that this was a disadvantage and said: ’We want to have a
press office that is not only efficient and effective but thinks
laterally and has fun.’
’I have held a lot of different roles in a number of organisations,
including as UCB managing director where I did all the PR. Paul
Atkinson, meanwhile, is very skilled and an ex-journalist. I have no
doubt that the commercial skills I bring, combined with Paul’s expertise
will stand us in good stead.