Nationwide's chief executive Graham Beale will step down next year, the building society has confirmed.
Beale, who is expected to retire “at or around the date of the AGM in July”, will have been at the helm of the lender for nine years and a board member for 13 years. Nationwide is now looking for a successor to take up the reins next summer.
The announcement comes as Nationwide revealed underlying profits for the year to April 4 soared 32 per cent to £1.2bn. Statutory profits also leaped, rising 54 per cent to £1.01bn.
The building society has also increased its capital strength, ending the financial year with a Common Equity Tier 1 ratio of 19.8 per cent, up from 14.5 per cent last year.
Beale said: "Nationwide is in great shape and is demonstrating how a mutual building society can make a real and refreshing difference in the financial services sector.
“Succession of leadership is best dealt with from a position of strength and hence the time has come for the society to identify and appoint its next chief executive. In the meantime, there is lots to do and there are exciting opportunities ahead, so it is very much business as usual."
Nationwide's chairman Geoffrey Howe thanked Beale for “his enormous contribution to the success of this organisation”.
“He has led the society safely through the worst financial crisis in living memory and at the same time created a truly modern mutual, with the needs of our members at the forefront of all that we do,” Howe said.
“He has also positioned the organisation for a digital world - ready to embrace the future and continue to innovate for the benefit of our members. This is the right time to plan for the future and in the meantime Graham will continue to lead the society and will remain, as always, focused on the job in hand."