Peter Hill to retire from ‘dream job’ at Leeds Building Society

Ryan Bembridge

August 3, 2018

Leeds Building Society chief executive Peter Hill (pictured) has announced his retirement from executive management after 17 years at the society.

In February 2019 he will leave and be replaced by the society’s chief commercial officer Richard Fearon, who has been made deputy chief executive with immediate effect.

Hill joined the society in August 2001, has been chief executive since August 2011 and – fittingly – has waited until this August to announce his retirement.

He said: “I am retiring from my executive career – I wouldn’t want to do another executive job after this.

“This has been my dream job.

“The mortgage industry has been my life and I hope to have the opportunity to pop up somewhere else in a non-executive role or some kind of role that keeps me in touch with the industry and all the wonderful people I know.”

He is open to taking on a role at another mortgage lender, whether a society or not.

However Hill ruled out taking a non-executive position at Leeds.

He added: “I always feel that it’s important to get out of the way and let a new executive team or CEO make their mark in their own way.

“There’s nothing worse than having the ghost of the former chief executive sitting on your shoulder.”

Fearon joined Leeds in February 2016 after 10 years with Lloyds Banking Group, where he held a number of senior roles in both the mortgage and savings businesses.

He started his career at management consultant Oliver Wyman & Company.

Robin Ashton, chairman of Leeds Building Society, said: “Peter has provided outstanding vision and leadership over the past seven years, during which time the society’s total assets and profits have more than doubled.

“I would like to thank Peter for his huge contribution to our success and wish him well for the next stage in his life.

“Richard has been chief commercial officer for two and half years. He was recruited with succession in mind and has proved to be an extremely able executive director.

“I know Richard will lead the business and our colleagues to future success, particularly as we continue to develop a society capable of thriving in the digital age.”

When asked about his greatest achievement at the society Hill said it was focusing on specialist segments of the market, like shared ownership, interest-only, part and part mortgages, holiday buy-to-let and as of this week retirement interest-only mortgages.

He said: “When I came in as CEO it was ‘we are going to take what was a small component of our business and build that into the main element’.

“Coming up with that as an approach and delivering it is the biggest contribution I’ve made to this business .”

Hill’s retirement announcement coincided with the unveiling of Leeds’ six months results for the first half of 2018.

The society recorded £1.8bn of residential mortgage lending, down from £2.1bn in the corresponding period last year.

Meanwhile its pre-tax profit fell to £60.1m from £63.2m owing to a £6.9m charge from the sale of the society’s Irish mortgage portfolio.

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