Nationwide hires Barclays’ Sara Bennison as CMO

Nationwide has hired Barclays’ Sara Bennison as chief marketing officer – a new role that will see her sit on the mutual’s executive committee.

Nationwide is looking to bolster its already impressive brand perception with the appointment of Barclays’ Sara Bennison as chief marketing officer – a new role that will see her sit on the mutual’s executive committee.

Bennison, a 2015 inductee into Marketing Week’s Vision 100, will join in the New Year from Barclays, where she has been for seven years most recently as chief marketing officer for its personal and corporate bank.

She joins Nationwide following a sustained period of growth for the building society. Its ‘On your side’ and ‘You don’t need a bank you do need a bank account’ taglines and positioning – an attempt to exploit the lack of trust in high street banks following the financial crisis – have helped it post huge profit increases in recent years, 54% year on year in its last financial year.

It also enjoys the highest Index rating – a balance of scores for quality, value, corporate reputation, and satisfaction – on YouGov’s BrandIndex from a list of 28 financial services brands.

The decision to elevate the CMO role to the group’s executive committee indicates the “importance the society places on further enhancing our brand and reputation”, according to a spokesman. Nationwide has considerable marketing expertise on its board including former Interbrand CEO Rita Clifton and former marketer and its group retail director Chris Rhodes.

Marketing director Stephen Leonard, also a member of the Vision 100, will report to Bennison.

Bennison is a well-known figure in the marketing industry, sitting on the board of advertising industry trade body ISBA and the IPA’s client council. She is also a Fellow of the Marketing Society.

She is the second senior marketer Barclays has lost this year following the departure of David Wheldon for RBS.

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