Former BT Openreach boss has been appointed as the new CEO of Nationwide building society.
The current CEO Graham Beale is retiring in spring 2016 and Mr Garner will replace him with immediate effect.
The appointment marks a slight change in policy from Nationwide as their previous three CEOs have all been chosen from within the firm.
The choice of Garner also now means that the company’s two top position are now occupied by ex-bankers. Nationwide’s chairman, David Roberts, previously worked as deputy chairman at Lloyd’s Banking Group and worked as banker at Barclays before that.
Joe Garner has been in charge of BT Openreach, the fixed-line network provider, for nearly two years now. However he said that the job offer from Nationwide was simply “too good to turn down”.
He went on to say:
“I’ve greatly enjoyed my time at Openreach and deciding to leave has been an extremely hard decision, but Nationwide is a firm I long-admired during my time in financial services.”
“It is BT ‘s investment that has helped the UK to become one of the strongest digital economies in the world and I am proud to have contributed. Openreach is now poised to take the UK from a superfast to an ultrafast nation and I am confident it can achieve this as part of theBTfamily.”
Garner had experience working with banking clients such as Marks and Spencer Bank and First Direct during his time as head of HSBC UK.
David Roberts, Nationwide’s chairman, said:
“Joe is an exceptional leader and is exactly the right person to lead the society through the next chapter of its journey.”
The chief executive of BT, Gavin Patterson, said:
“I am sad to see Joe leave but he is moving to a terrific job and I wish him well.”
Joe Garner drew praise from many whilst in charge of HSBC UK. He oversaw operations when banking regulations were tightened and was pivotal in helping HSBC increase its share of the UK market, mainly mortgages, at the same time as many banks were underperforming.
Mr Garner worked for HSBC up until September 2015, he left because he did not want to move abroad for the company. Following this he was linked to the job of running RBS and the Co-operative Group. He has also worked at the consumer goods company, Proctor & Gamble, and the electrical retailer, Dixons.
Graham Beale has been at Nationwide since back in 2007 and led the company through the economic crash. Last year the building society attracted criticism for paying Beale £2.6m per year- far more than any other building society, it is understood that Garner will be paid a similar amount. Beale recently spoke out to condemn the changes to the banking levy, which was done to please HSBC and makes costs higher for building societies.
Robert went on to say of the appointment:
“As a member-owned organisation, our sole focus is to deliver exceptional products and services to our members at every stage of their lives. Joe has an excellent track record in delivering outstanding service to customers across the financial services and retail sectors,”