Wales

Principality appoints Julie-Ann Haines as first woman boss

Julie-Ann Haines Image copyright Principality
Image caption Julie-Ann Haines joined the Principality in 2007

Wales' largest building society is to be led by a woman for the first time in its 160-year history.

Principality, based in Cardiff, has announced Julie-Ann Haines would take over as chief executive, moving up from her role as chief customer officer.

Ms Haines joined the company in 2007 and has worked in the financial and retail sector for more than 20 years.

Principality, a mutual society owned by its members, employs more than 1,000 people.

Ms Haines will take over from interim chief executive Mike Jones subject to regulatory approval, which can take up to three months.

She said: "As leader of our purpose-led organisation, my priority will be to build on our solid foundations and continue to invest in the business especially in these challenging times.

"It is vital we have a building society that is relevant for current and future members, customers and commercial partners."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Principality bought the naming rights to the former Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in 2015 for 10 years

In 2019, an audit revealed the company - the sixth-largest building society in the UK- had a gender pay gap of of 29% compared to the Wales average of 15%.

At the time, the company said it was due to the demographics of the company and was confident the gap would reduce.

Chairman Laurie Adams said Ms Haines had shown "strong leadership, financial and commercial acumen", adding: "During her time at Principality Building Society, she has played an important role in ensuring our members have received outstanding customer experience, and especially during these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"She has played a key role in leading our transformation strategy and is the right person to ensure we continue to deliver long term value and excellent service to both existing and future members."

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