West Brom chief executive retires

Amanda Jarvis

May 12, 2006

Andrew Messenger will retire as chief executive and director of the Society on 30 September 2006. He will be succeeded by Stephen Karle, the Society’s current operations director, who will become chief executive designate with immediate effect. He will assume the position of chief executive on 1 October 2006.

In the past decade the West Brom, under Andrew’s leadership, has become one of the UK’s top ten building societies, returning consecutive record-breaking results year after year. In Stephen Karle, the Society has the person with all-round qualities to help maintain that impressive progress.

Stephen Karle (46) joined the West Brom in 1995 as secretary to the Society, having previously worked as a solicitor at a major law firm where he was widely respected as an influential figure within the regional West Midlands business community.

Stephen was appointed to the Board of the Society in 2000 with additional responsibility for business risk, compliance, efficiency and IT. His accomplished performance in delivering on objectives led to his further promotion in 2004 to operations director. This encompassed an extensive portfolio of responsibilities, notably sales, marketing and distribution, business operations and people recruitment and development.

With a renowned vision and versatility, Stephen’s flair and enthusiasm have been critical elements in the capacity of the business to respond effectively to a fiercely competitive and rapidly changing market, particularly in an environment of increasing regulation for the financial services industry.

Similarly, Stephen’s willingness to innovate, together with the ability to motivate staff and harness the potential of everyone at the Society, further indicates his many attributes.

In announcing the appointment of Stephen Karle as the chief executive designate, Dr Brian Woods-Scawen, chairman of the West Brom, cited his admirable blend of skills and knowledge as telling factors: “Stephen Karle is the ideal individual to lead the West Brom. His expertise and experience, allied to a track record of delivering outstanding results, together with his gift for getting the best out of people, make him the person to help sustain a record of success that has made the wider world sit up and take notice of the West Brom. I look forward greatly to working with him.”

In paying tribute to the contribution made by Andrew Messenger, Brian said: “The success of the West Brom over the past decade is synonymous with the leadership, vitality and unwavering dedication of Andrew Messenger. Andrew has been instrumental in elevating the West Brom to one of the UK’s leading mutuals and has proved a superb ambassador for both the West Brom and the building society sector generally.

“Andrew has also been recognised nationally as an inspirational champion, particularly in the field of diversity and racial equality, and a forceful advocate of the many benefits building societies bring to the community and members. This has brought him widespread acclaim, notably with the Mortgage Finance Gazette Leadership Award in 2002 and the honorary doctorates received from the University of Central England and the University of Wolverhampton in 2005. On behalf of the Board and our members, I would like to thank him for his many achievements and wish him a long and happy retirement.”

Andrew Messenger said: “It has been a tremendous honour to lead such a wonderful team at the West Brom. I know I am leaving a strong and sustainable business, which has a clear strategy and formidable Board, who are committed to the values that have shaped the Society’s exceptional progress and delivered excellent member value. I am proud of the West Brom and, under Stephen Karle, the Society will continue to grow, thrive and share its success with members, staff and community.”

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