Legal Business Blogs

Calling time – Nationwide’s innovative GC Liz Kelly to leave after panel review

Having worked her way up Nationwide‘s ranks to group general counsel, Liz Kelly is to leave the building society at the end of the financial year to spend more time with her family.

Kelly was appointed as general counsel in 2009 and has since pulled together what was a fractured legal department, creating a risk-based blueprint for areas where it needed to grow and building it up to around 50 lawyers, including seven litigators.

Her innovations include rolling resource planning, under which the legal team provides a formal two-year partnering plan to show how it will support the business based on discussions with key stakeholders.

The forward-thinking lawyer also introduced terms of reference for each project, which sets out at the outset the agreed project objectives.

Kelly’s departure comes shortly after she kickstarted the society’s panel review – a process that she will see through until the results are announced early next year – under which the number of law firms on the panel is expected to reduce. Speaking to Legal Business she said: ‘We want really good quality advice and a close working relationship.’

This is the first review since the building society put its first panel together in 2009, with firms including Allen & Overy, Burges Salmon, Eversheds, Nabarro and Olswang all having won a place.

The building society was one of five financial institutions identified in June by the Prudential Regulation Authority as having a capital shortfall. Kelly said: ‘What we are looking for in our panel review is how firms can support us on the regulatory side.’

Kelly says she will also play a role in the process of appointing her successor.