The Building Societies Association has elected Jonathan Westhoff of West Bromwich Building Society as chairman.
Westoff has replaced Dick Jenkins, chief executive of Bath Building Society, who has been in the post since November 2015.
Stephen Mitcham, chief executive of Cambridge Building Society, has also been elected as deputy chairman.
Westhoff said: “I am becoming BSA chairman at what promises to be an interesting time.
“We have been operating in relatively benign economic conditions over the past couple of years which have been good for businesses and good for consumers.
“The immediate future looks rather more uncertain with growing indications that the unexpected economic glow which followed the EU Referendum is coming to an end.
“Building societies are a critical part of the financial services landscape. They provide one new mortgage in every three and have worked hard to maintain savings rates through a low rate environment that’s lasted eight years.
“More than 21 million people in the UK are members of a building society. Across the sector we have the capacity and expertise to serve those with many different and sometimes complex financial needs, whether they are buying a home or saving.
“The building society focus on people rather than shareholders makes a difference to all the small daily decisions we take, as well as fulfilling our strategic purpose. Our members tell us that our approach to doing business makes a difference to them – which is what counts.”