Lazenby heads PR at Nationwide

Nationwide, the UK’s largest surviving building society, has appointed a new communications chief to bang the drum for its mutual status.

Nationwide, the UK’s largest surviving building society, has

appointed a new communications chief to bang the drum for its mutual

status.



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

affairs.



Lazenby said his team would be forging more proactive

communications.



’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

changes.



’Obviously, we will be looking at our agencies and assessing their

strengths.



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

product development.



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.



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