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Your Board

Non-Executive Directors

  • Stuart Purdy

    Stuart Purdy

    Chairman

    Stuart became Chairman of British Friendly in 2019 and is very committed to the UK’s mutual sector. He also Chairs the Beverley Building Society and is a member of the Scottish Life Supervisory Committee, part of the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK. He sits on the European Board of Assurant and Chairs its Audit and Risk Committee. In his Executive career, Stuart was Product and Investment Director of Aviva Europe, was CEO of Ireland’s largest insurance group and he led the launch of Aviva’s business in India. His last Executive role was as CEO of RSA’s Asia and Middle East Region. While in India, he established a partnership with Arpana Trust to set up the Aviva Balvatika School in the slum resettlement area of Delhi that has now educated more than 6,000 children. He has a strong belief in Corporate Social Responsibility. Stuart is also a Trustee and Audit Committee Chair of one of the country’s largest charities, Age UK, which is dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later years through care, support, advice and effective campaigns such as ‘No-One should have No-One’, addressing loneliness for over 2.5m older people in the UK. Stuart lives in Edinburgh with his wife and two teenage children.


  • Robin Willison

    Robin Willison

    Senior Independent Director

    Robin has worked for nearly 40 years in financial services including a series of senior leadership positions in Lloyds Bank and LV=. He has sat on a number of industry committees and as a Director of LINK Interchange. In recent years he has worked as an independent consultant across the financial mutual sector and a coach to senior executives, leaders and their teams. Robin is an active member of his local community and at various times has been a youth club leader, school governor and a trustee of a number of charities. He has been married to Anna for 37 years and has 4 grown up children, with his time increasingly being taken up by supporting 9 grandchildren at various activities and events.


  • Audrey McNair

    Audrey McNair

    Non-Executive Director

    Audrey joined the Board in April 2016 as a Non-Executive Director. In her executive career Audrey worked for a number of banks and latterly was Global Head of Risk for Aberdeen Asset Management. In her role she was responsible for the implementation of the Group’s Risk Management Framework globally. Audrey has 2 other board positions with Investment trusts and, for 4 years, she was a Non-Executive Director in a regional building society. In her spare time Audrey enjoys the arts, travelling and trying to beat her personal best at her local Parkrun.


  • Samantha Blackie

    Samantha Blackie

    Non-Executive Director

    Sam is a corporate Human Resources Director with over 29 years’ experience. Starting her career in retail although more recently she has held a number of senior positions across the Financial Services Sector including Group People and Corporate Affairs Director at Royal London, the UK’s largest mutual life insurance and pensions company. In addition, Sam has been a trustee of UK and Irish pension schemes, is currently a Trustee of the charity Meningitis Now and Council member of Aberystwyth University. Through both her executive and non-executive career, Sam has extensive experience of the operation of governance committees such as the Remuneration and Nominations Committee. Having completed her Master’s in Business Psychology she has a particular interest in leadership development, culture and organisational change. Outside of work Sam enjoys watching her teenage daughter play sport or walking their dog in the Forest of Dean.


  • Perry Thomas

    Perry Thomas

    Non-Executive Director

    Perry is an actuary with over 30 years in financial services. He was CEO of HSBC's UK Life insurer, CEO of RGA UK - a pan-European life reinsurer, CEO of HSBC Reinsurance and CEO of HSBC Insurance Ireland Ltd. He's also been Group Chief Actuary for a global bank and a Group Chief Risk Officer of several large insurers, most recently Scottish Widows and Lloyds Bank's Wealth business, working in stock broking, investment and wealth advisory. He’s held directorships in the UK, Bermuda, Ireland, India, South Africa, Malta & Luxembourg. In 2017 he was elected for a 3-year term to the Council for the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries. As well as being a UK Fellow he's an Associate of the Society of Actuaries in the USA and a Certified Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA). Perry completed an MBA in 2004 and thoroughly enjoyed it! Perry is dyslexic, which complicated his early school years with some challenges, but he believes that often gives him a different perspective to bring.


  • Ian Bullock

    Ian Bullock

    Chair of Audit

    Ian joined the Board in June 2019 as a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit & Compliance Committee. For 35 years, he held roles at Senior Management and Board level across a range of Financial Services sectors: Insurance, Building Societies, Broking, Pensions and Life Assurance. He’s chaired two Boards, held a Managing Director position and several Non-Executive Director positions. He is a qualified actuary and mathematics graduate with expertise in business, finance and risk management, as well as marketing, distribution and product management. Throughout his whole career, Ian’s real passion has been all about people, customers and colleagues. His most enjoyable role being; Chief Customer Officer, at Yorkshire Building Society, where he was responsible for driving and upholding the customer experience, value and benefits for the Society at sector leading standards. Ian is a dedicated family man who spends much of his spare time following his beloved team Manchester United, or travelling the world pursuing a range of bucket list experiences.


  • Simon Owens

    Simon Owens

    Chief Executive Officer

    Simon joined the Board in June 2020 with over 20 year’s experience of working in the financial services sector. Simon has held financial, commercial and operational leadership positions in life insurance, health insurance, general insurance, pensions and financial advice businesses including Legal & General and Aviva. Simon’s desire to make a difference and commercial acumen has led to key strategic roles delivering transformation and change. Simon lives in Surrey and is married with four children and two dogs. Simon is a qualified youth football and cricket coach and spends much of his time away from the Society encouraging and developing children’s passion for sport.