The Cumberland to appoint first female chair of the board

Published on
31 May 2024

The Cumberland has announced that Jackie Arnold is to become the new chair of its board - the first woman to be chairperson in the building society’s history.

The appointment, which will take effect following the society’s annual general meeting in July, will be the latest chapter in a prestigious career for Jackie, which has included being Head of Strategy at BAE Systems. She has also held the position of Vice Chair of Cumbria’s Local Enterprise Partnership, where she chaired the investment panel as they funded and oversaw the delivery of £200 million of projects to develop the region.

In 2016, Jackie was awarded an MBE from the Queen for services to the Cumbrian economy, further demonstrating her strong ties to the area and its communities.

Jackie said: “As a passionate advocate for Cumbria, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to step into the role of chair of the Cumberland board. I’ve enjoyed my time to date as a non-executive director and I’m really looking forward to this next chapter. I’ll be proud to work alongside the talented people at the Cumberland, and on its board, to lead the society through the coming years”.

Jackie brings more than 40 years’ experience in business and financial management, including being a qualified accountant, and is an honorary fellow of the University of Cumbria. She has been a part of the Cumberland team as a non-executive director since 2018 and the people, remuneration and culture committee chair since 2019.

Jackie will succeed John Hooper, who will be stepping down as chair at the society’s next annual general meeting after five years in the role and nearly nine years as a non-executive director.

John leaves The Cumberland after a tenure in which his contributions helped lead the society through various phases of growth and transition, as well as navigating uncertain times during the pandemic and ongoing cost of living crisis.

Looking fondly over his time at The Cumberland, John said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to steward an organisation with such a strong purpose and rich history through a period when it has set course to a sustainable future, enabling it to continue to be a key provider of financial services to the people of Cumbria, southern Scotland and surrounding areas.”

Additionally, Eric Gunn is retiring from his role as non-executive director, chair of board risk committee and senior independent director after nearly eight years of service. Eric’s strategic insights and dedication have been instrumental in The Cumberland’s success during his time at the company. Joining the board as a non-executive director and as chair of board risk committee is Cameron Marr, who brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise, having spent 40 years working in banking and financial services sectors around the globe.

Cameron said The Cumberland’s ‘kinder banking’ approach and culture were key reasons for his decision to join: "There is an overt commitment to its community and the collective desire to provide the best it can to all of its customers. It’s embedded in the culture, and in a way, it’s more than kindness – it’s about respect and being there for what people need. The Cumberland demonstrates values that align strongly with where I think banking should be".

Des Moore, CEO of The Cumberland expressed his gratitude to those leaving and his optimism for the future, stating: “We are deeply thankful to John and Eric for their extraordinary service and dedication to The Cumberland. Their leadership has been pivotal in shaping our company’s direction and success. We would also like to warmly welcome Jackie and Cameron to their positions and look forward to their contributions in driving the company forward.”

Together with Richard Ellison, Kelli Fairbrother, Vicky Bruce, Mark Stanger and Anna Barsby, The Cumberland brings together a board of directors of truly ‘kinder’ people. Their expertise and restlessness to succeed complements the society’s values, purpose and strong sense of local belonging whilst driving business forward with pace and focus.