Peter Gandolfi, head of brand strategy at Nationwide, has made an abrupt exit from the building society, just weeks after calling an advertising pitch.
It is understood that Gandolfi, who had been with the company for 28 years, is keen to set up a sports sponsorship consultancy and is thought to have had talks with various agencies. His role at Nationwide covered brand strategy, advertising and sponsorship.
His sudden departure comes less than a fortnight after advertising agency Leagas Delaney resigned Nationwide’s advertising business, after it was revealed Gandolfi was holding talks with rival agencies. The review is now on hold.
A Nationwide spokesman confirms that it wants to “continue the association” with Leagas Delaney “subject to further discussions”.
Gandolfi’s departure also coincides with the building society’s decision to look for a board-level sales and marketing director to replace John Sutherland.
He stepped down from his role following the acquisition of the Derbyshire and Cheshire building societies (MW September 11) and has since left the organisation.
Gandolfi’s position was put in doubt earlier this year after Sutherland started the search for a group marketing director (MW July 10). The role would have been senior to Gandolfi but the plan was scrapped after Sutherland left.
Both roles are expected to be filled externally. Stuart Bernau, executive director of retail, will cover the sales and marketing function at board level, with Matthew Carter, divisional director for mortgage and savings, overseeing marketing, sponsorship and brand at a divisional director level in the interim.
Gandolfi worked his way up through Nationwide. He held various roles, including Chilterns area manager, before before becoming head of football in 1999. He was also responsible for the Mark Benton-fronted campaign, which was created by Leagas Delaney three years ago.