He replaces Nationwide Building Society chief executive Philip Williamson, who has held the post for the past year.
Before becoming chief executive of Norwich and Peterborough in 1999, Bullock had a broad banking career spanning investment banking, credit risk management, retail banking and savings/investments, and corporate and high tech banking.
Yorkshire Building Society chief executive Ian Cornish has taken over as deputy chairman from Matthew Bullock.
Bullock says: “I look forward to an interesting year. The impacts of Basel II and of the FSA’s drive towards principles based regulation will require much fresh thinking – on the structure of the mortgage market and on a new compliance architecture. Key elements in the latter will be defining consumers’, distributors’ and producers’ responsibilities in investment and lending markets; defining evidential provision in individual cases of complaint and in enforcement, and achieving all this in a way that lowers the costs of regulation. The contribution of mutual building societies to these debates will be important.”