Ex-Nationwide chief in new role

Mike Lazenby, the marketing director who left Nationwide last year with no job to go to (MW September 23), has emerged as the new chief executive of Kent Reliance building society.

Lazenby is awaiting board approval to turn the 14-branch Kent chain into a national business by launching a telephone and Internet operation at the end of the year. He will give no further details.

It was Lazenby who kicked off events which led to England football team manager Glen Hoddle getting the sack. Nationwide is a team sponsor.

Lazenby officially took up his new role last week, but he has been working with the company as a consultant for three months.

He replaces Ian Robinson, who will hold a board position until he retires in June.

Kent Reliance has an advertising spend of £200,000, while Nationwide, the UK’s largest building society, spends £12m.

Lazenby says: “It is a challenge coming from a company as big as Nationwide to Kent Reliance. But I have lots of ideas and will be hoping to increase the marketing spend significantly to communicate them after they have come to fruition.”

His sudden departure from Nationwide last year was shrouded in mystery. At the time the building society declined to comment on the reasons for his departure, while Lazenby said he left by “mutual consent”, having achieved the goals he had set himself.

But insiders said Lazenby’s relationship with Nationwide and its roster agencies had become strained.

Lazenby says he is also working on “secret” consultancy projects for other companies.

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