A second senior executive is leaving West Bromwich Building Society, it has been announced.

Finance director Gary Cowdrill, aged 52, is to take early retirement after 17 year with the mutually-owned organisation.

The announcement follows the unexpected resignation of chief executive Stephen Karle last month.

Mr Karle, a well-known West Midland figure, was replaced after only two years in charge of the country’s ninth largest building society by Bournemouth-based Robert Sharpe, the former chief executive of the Portman.

Mr Sharpe oversaw Portman’s acquisition of the now-defunct Staffordshire Building Society, which was headquartered in Wolverhampton, in 2003 before merging Portman with Nationwide last year.

Mr Cowdrill joined the West Brom in 1991 and was promoted to the position of finance director in 2002.

He has played a key part in ensuring that the society developed a strong financial base in its growth as the biggest regionally-based building society in Birmingham and the Black Country.

West Brom chairman Brian Woods-Scawen said: “Gary has been a real mainstay of the society during a period of substantial growth. His dedication and loyalty have made him a key member of the business and we wish him well for the future.”

Mr Cowdrill said: “The West Brom has been a great place to work.”