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Meet the CEO: Teddy Nyahasha

A dog loving, book reading, sofa sitting, sweet toothed fan of Iron Man. He’s also a keen golfer. Here’s what happened when we had a ‘fireside chat’ with our CEO, Teddy Nyahasha.

Find out more about his thoughts on his role, his aspirations for 2021 and what challenges he sees OneFamily facing this year.

Teddy's icebreaker

Teddy's options Teddy's choice
Dog or cat Dog
Beach or pool Pool
Vinyl or CD Vinyl
Sofa or armchair Sofa
TV or books Books
Sweet or savoury Sweet
Iron Man or Captain America Iron Man

How have you found the transition from CFO to CEO at OneFamily?

I joined OneFamily in 2016 as Chief Financial Officer, which was just shortly after the merger between Engage Mutual and Family Investments where OneFamily was formed. It was a great time to join a company who was looking forward, had a lot of history, but was playing in different spaces which was a challenge but also an opportunity to shape a business and be a part of the new strategy. I took the role of CEO on the 1 January 2020. Moving into the role wasn’t as daunting as expected but you have to learn to look at the organisation from a different lens. Finance is an enabler for a lot of things within the business but there are a lot of things which drive a business forward such as the culture and the people. One of my biggest drivers is to make a difference.

With Covid-19 following soon after, the plans we had made needed to be revised in order to keep our people safe and our business resilient. It created a burning platform where it brought the business closer together. Those first few weeks of having to adjust our entire business model to get our people working from home reinforced a lot of things within our culture and how we’re going to take ourselves forward as a community within OneFamily.

It also challenged some of the ways we operate, especially in terms of Lifetime Mortgages. This was an industry reliant on physical valuations. If someone had said we needed to change towards a hybrid model of physical and virtual valuations, we probably would have taken more than a year but because of that burning platform, it gave us the impetus to implement those innovative solutions quickly. Being the CEO has been more rewarding, because of the crisis, but also because of the person I am. There are people who look at change as a threat, but I look at it as a positive and an opportunity. For all that Covid-19 took away from us, it also presented us with several opportunities that would spare us and put us in a much stronger position, as a Society and better equipped for the future.


What do you feel are the top three goals for OneFamily in 2021?


We started the journey to revisit and change our culture in 2020 and I want to finish and see it through into 2021. To be a mutual and live as a mutual means that we become more customer centric. Where there are other models with conflict between fortune of the customer and fortunes of the company, ours are intertwined. 2020 shone a light on a lot of aspects that play to our culture and value set, which is around inclusion. We very much care about the communities that our customers belong to. I see that all as part of our DNA to being a socially responsible organisation, and we need to bring all those themes into our culture so we’re not just saying it but we live it and that will carry us into the future.


We’ve put a significant investment into the IT across all our business. This is going to be a multiyear programme but 2021 is the ground-breaking year and it is going to be a critical delivery and focus for us modernising our business. Modernisation isn’t just about being efficient, it’s also how we make ourselves more accessible to our customers. It’s also about helping our partners, who are our touchpoints with our end customers, going forward. We need to make sure our house is modern and it’s a continuum investment and evolution of OneFamily.


We’ve got a very exciting product set, but we can add more value to that product set in line with customer demand. Certainly, from a Lifetime Mortgage perspective, 2021 has a lot of opportunities for product innovation and development and what’s clear is the direction of travel - this is a demand that society needs and will continue to grow. There are trends in the Lifetime Mortgage market that signals for me there is a genuine need which isn’t going anywhere, and we need to respond to it by making sure we design and invest in appropriate products.

What challenges do you think OneFamily will face in 2021?

One of the things the pandemic reminded us of, especially for a business like OneFamily, is we are very much reliant on our partners for our front end of the business. We have an invested interest in not only our own resilience and our ability to trade, but also in the fortunes of our partners. The investments we make aren’t just an enabler for making OneFamily resilient, but for efficiency and ease for our partners to engage with us and engage their customers through us, making their business resilient.

As a keen golfer, if you could play a round with anyone, who would it be and why?

Well, I can’t choose just one person as that’s too difficult for me. I need to think about this as a “four-ball”!

  1. Nelson Mandela - even if it means he becomes my caddy for most of the time, giving me pointers of advice here or there.
  2. Barack Obama would also be an interesting partner, not just because he is a keen golfer with a better handicap than mine, but also a man who has shown resilience in life. I get inspired a lot by people who are resilient.
  3. The final person I would invite would be Eddie Jaku, a survivor of the concentration camps in Germany and author of ‘The Happiest Man on Earth’. He isn’t someone who has set out to be a hero. His response to the horrors that happened to him was to be the polar opposite by living his life to the full and being happy. He would be a great person to have a round of golf with, even at the age of 90!

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