Graham Beale

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Graham John Beale CBE (born 19 October 1958)[1] and former Chief Executive of the Nationwide Building Society.


Beale joined Anglia Building Society in 1985 as a chartered accountant in the internal audit function.[2]

Anglia Building Society merged with Nationwide Building Society in 1987. At Nationwide Building Society, he was involved in a number of major transactions including the buying and selling of subsidiary businesses. This included the sale of Nationwide Estate Agents in 1994 and the acquisition of UCB Home Loans in 1995.[3]

Beale was appointed Managing Director of a Glasgow subsidiary in 1997.[4]

In 2002 he became Divisional Director, Commercial and then joined the Board in 2003 as Group Finance Director. He was appointed Chief Executive on 1 April 2007.

In his first year as Chief Executive, Beale oversaw the successful merger of the Portman Building Society – the largest merger the mutual sector had ever seen.[5][6]

During the financial crisis, Beale also oversaw mergers with three smaller building societies; the Derbyshire Building Society and Cheshire Building Society in 2008 and the Dunfermline Building Society in 2009. In 2012, plans were announced to integrate these three brand names into one ‘Nationwide’ brand.[7]

More recently, he has overseen a £1 billion five-year investment in infrastructure to improve the Society’s core savings, mortgages and banking systems.[8] This has resulted in the launch of two new current accounts (FlexPlus and FlexDirect), a mobile banking app, a new online bank, an ISA track and trace service, new mortgage processing software and a new data centre.[9]

Beale has been a member of the FCA Practitioner Panel – representing Building Societies – since 1 August 2011. He was appointed Chairman of the FCA Practitioner Panel from 1 April 2013.[10]

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to the financial services sector.[11]

On 22 May 2015, it was announced that Graham Beale intended to retire as CEO of Nationwide. He stepped down as Chief Executive on 4 April 2016. Joe Garner, formerly CEO of Openreach, joined the Society as Chief Executive on 5 April 2016. [12]

Education and training[edit]

After sixth form, Beale went to Leicester University to read psychology. He said, “I was interested in marketing and advertising and thought psychology would take me in the right direction”.

However, he began training as an accountant at Thomson McLintock, now part of KPMG. Thomson McLintock’s biggest client was Leicester Building Society (which merged with Alliance in 1987 to form Alliance & Leicester and then acquired by Santander in 2010) and gave Beale an insight into mutuals. He said, “My time at Leicester was quite influential. I liked what mutuals stood for”.[13]


He is interested in wildlife photography, renovating his Georgian townhouse in Bath, travel and walking the dog.[14][15]


Beale’s father was a maintenance engineer at British Steel and his mother a nurse. Beale met his wife “practically in the first week” of university at Leicester and married her on graduating; they have two children.[16] He lives in the Vale of White Horse, close to Oxford.