Thursday 18th November 2021

Movers and Shakers by Dixon Walters

Dixon Walters looks back at the movers and shakers of the year. Read more...





Dixon Walter is an executive search firm dedicated to the appointment of outstanding leaders within the Housing Sector. We are passionate about the sector and our commitment to finding diverse and exceptional talent means we always keep our eyes and ears to the ground. Over the last few months, we’ve seen some fantastic appointments!


Catalyst has strengthened its leadership team with some key appointments; highly experienced HR professional Amanda Gonsalves, took up the role of Executive Director of People and Culture. Argiri Papathos has been appointed as the new Director of Governance and Compliance. Prior to joining Catalyst, Argiri led multi-disciplinary corporate services teams for housing associations and local government. Polly Gardner has been named as Land, Partnerships, and Pre-Construction Director for Catalyst’s London development team and previously served as Head of Development.

Nicola Barclay has been appointed as Chair of the Board of Trustees for Habitat for Humanity. Barclay, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2020, brings over 25 years of experience in the homebuilding industry and is currently Chief Executive of Homes for Scotland. Nicola succeeds Ian Whitehead, who served as Chair since 1999.

In October, Anne Costain was promoted to the role of Executive Director of Finance with Stonewater, having previously worked at Stonewater as Director of Corporate Finance since August last year and previously held finance roles at a number of other major housing associations. Prior to joining Stonewater, Ms Costain was Interim Director of Resources at Thrive Homes.

Additionally, Stonewater has welcomed Nicola Lambe who has joined as Head of Domestic Abuse Support. The former Ashiana Sheffield Chief Executive is the first person to hold the newly created role, to which Lambe brings more than two decades of experience.

Ebele Akojie has joined Settle as Executive Director of Finance and Resources. Ebele brings a wealth of finance, governance and resource management experience, gained from a variety of senior leadership and board roles over the last 20 years. In recent years, Ebele has worked for G15 Housing Associations including serving as Finance Director at Genesis at the point of merger with Notting Hill and Chief Finance Officer at One Housing Group.

Tower Hamlets Community Housing has appointed Anita Khan as its new Chief Executive. She will take up the role at the end of the year after completing her role at Settle where she is currently Executive Director of Customer Services. Ms Khan brings 10 years’ experience to the role, with previous appointments at a number of social landlords, including Buckinghamshire Council and Shepherds Bush Housing Group.

Longhurst Group has recruited Jenny Brown as the housing association’s new Chair. Ms Brown has spent 20 years at Grant Thornton and most recently served as a Director at Altair Consultancy. She has also been Vice-Chair at Arhag Housing Association and a co-opted member of the audit committee at Sheffield Hallam University. Jenny will succeed current Chair Bob Wilson who steps down in early 2022.

In November, Sara Sheard was named Executive Director of People at Bradford-based housing association Incommunities. Sara joins from learning disability charity Mencap where she most recently held the role of Deputy People Director following positions as Head of Organisational Development and Acting Head of Human Resources.

Clanmil Housing Group has appointed Carol McTaggart as its Chief Executive designate. Ms McTaggart is currently Group Director of Development at Clanmil, having joined the association over 30 years ago. She will take up the role at the end of the year, when incumbent Clare McCarty retires after 37 years.

Denise Fowler has been confirmed as the new Chief Executive at Phoenix Community Housing. Fowler currently serves as the Chief Executive of Women’s Pioneer Housing, a role she took after serving as the Housing Ombudsman for England. Fowler will join Phoenix in early 2022, succeeding Jim Ripley, who has served as Chief Executive since 2007.

Swan Housing Association has recruited Pat Billingham as the next Chair of the Board. Billingham, who has previously served as Vice Chair of Catalyst Housing, is an experienced Non-Executive Director with extensive experience in public companies and regulated businesses. Billingham began her role in October, when current Chair Valerie Owen OBE finished her term.

Osprey Housing has named Stacy Angus as its new CEO. Angus, who currently serves as the provider’s Director of Housing Services, succeeds Glenn Adcook, who is retiring after nearly 11 years.

Maureen Morris has been elected Chair of Wellhouse Housing Association. She takes over from Darron Brown, who announced he was to step down at the 2021 AGM after serving two years as Chair. Morris previously served as Chair of WHA from 2014 to 2019.

Susan McDonald has been named as the new Executive Director of Operations for Kingdom Housing Association. Susan is currently Interim Director with Reidvale Housing Association, former Chair of Ore Valley Housing Association and previously a Partner with Addleshaw Goddard Solicitors. She will take up her new role on December 1.

Additionally, Kingdom Housing Association has announced the election of Linda Leslie as Chair of the Association. Linda has been a Board Member with Kingdom since September 2015, and joint Vice Chair for the last two years and succeeds Freya Lees who stepped down as Chair after having served for five years.

Plus Dane has appointed Claire Ryan as its Deputy Chief Executive. Claire Ryan started her career at CDS Housing, one of the original housing associations that joined together to become Plus Dane. She joins from South Liverpool Homes as Executive Director of Investment and Assurance and will take up her new role in January.

Platform Housing Group has announced the appointment of experienced investment banker and former OfGem Senior Advisor, Jessica Friend, to the role of Group Corporate Finance Director. Friend has spent the last three years at the energy regulator and the last 12 months on the board at Hertfordshire-based Thrive Homes. 


Congratulations to all the women mentioned and may we take this opportunity to WISH you every success in your new posts!

Dixon Walter – Housing and Regeneration Recruitment Specialists,

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