20/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 08:44

Principality building society chief executive Peter Griffiths to stand down

Category: Wales

Published: 16th May 2012 07:02:44

The chief executive of Wales' largest building society is leaving after leading it through what he calls "one of the most testing financial times on record".

Peter Griffiths, who has had 10 years at the top of the Principality, says it is in great shape despite the downturn.

It is the UK's seventh largest building society and has 52 branches in Wales.

One analyst said most building societies did not take risks like banks but it did well to remain profitable.

The Cardiff-based mutual society, which has 500,000 savers and borrowers, recently said it had had a "healthy" 2011, with pre-tax profits of £24.5m and a rise in mortgage lending.

Mr Griffiths said he had had to modernise and grow the business after being appointed in March 2002.

He said: "It has been a fascinating experience, initially a mix of modernising and then growing the business and finally steering our way through the depths of one of the most testing financial times on record.

"The society has emerged in great shape and I leave behind a strong and experienced management team, a trusted brand and a future filled with opportunities."

The society has emerged in great shape ”

He said he made the decision to leave "with a mix of emotions".

"I have no firm plans as to what or where next," he added.

"I am a firm believer in serendipity and fate and I will explore my options in the months ahead."

In February, the Principality reported pre-tax profits of £24.5m, down £6.3m from the previous year.

But the group said mortgage lending was up 6.5%, taking loans over the £1bn mark.

It also attracted 38,000 new customers during 2011.

The Principality board has started looking for a successor and will look at both internal and external candidates.

Mr Griffiths will remain in the post until a suitable candidate is found.

"It is with great regret that we accept his resignation. His leadership skills, strategic awareness and common sense approach to business have been invaluable over the last decade."

Chris Skinner, an independent financial and banking expert analyst, said the Principality had done well to remain profitable during the recent banking crisis.

As a building society, it didn't take risks for huge financial gains like the banks”

"As a building society, it didn't take risks for huge financial gains like the banks," said Mr Skinner, who is chairman of the network for senior banking executives, the Financial Services Club.

"Because most building societies are run in the interests of their members - they are customer-focused businesses - they don't take such risks to make money for shareholders.

"So they have been less affected by the financial crisis.

"All the building societies that became plcs - like Northern Rock and the Halifax - were the ones who messed up as they stopped running in the interests of their members.

"So I'd say Peter has done a good job at the Principality and has grown it so that it's now larger than it used to be."

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BBC News, 2012. Principality building society chief executive Peter Griffiths to stand down [Online] (Updated 16th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1428844/Principality-building-society-chief-executive-Peter-Griffiths-to-stand-down [Accessed 20th Apr 2014]

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