Matthew Colebrook named new chief executive of Leeds-based First Direct bank

LEEDS-based 24-hour and internet bank First Direct has appointed Matthew Colebrook as its new chief executive.

He has joined the bank from its parent group, HSBC, where he has worked for more than 22 years after joining as a 17-year-old.

His most recent position was senior executive supporting the chief executive officer of the UK bank.

Chris Pilling, the previous chief executive of First Direct, has moved to a new role as head of direct banking at HSBC.

First Direct has 1.2mn customers around 880,000 of whom use internet banking

First Direct is the largest text messaging bank in the UK. It sends around 2.6m text messages to customers every month and 360,000 customers use SMS text message banking.

The company employs around 3,500 people at its sites in Leeds and Hamilton, near Glasgow, and has been in profit every year since 1995.

Mr Colebrook will report directly to his predecessor.

He said: "It's certainly going to be a challenging job to make sure we not only maintain but also keep improving our outstanding levels of service.

"I have inherited an incredibly talented and innovative team and I'm looking forward to steering us through the current market challenges."

First Direct's call centre in Leeds was voted the best call centre in the UK for customer service in a poll conducted by independent market research company GfK NOP last week.

Mr Colebrook is moving from Farnham in Surrey to Yorkshire and is currently looking for a house in the region.

Married with two children he last year graduated with an MS Management from Stanford Graduate School of Business. He also holds a CAA Private Pilots Licence and is a keen cyclist.

Under his new role, Mr Pilling will remain in overall charge of First Direct but will also be responsible for all of HSBC UK's internet and telephone banking. He will remain based in Leeds.