Incommunities chief executive set to retire after 17 years

Geraldine Howley, the longstanding chief executive of one of the UK’s largest social housing providers Incommunities, has announced her plans to step down from the role at the end of this year.

During her 17 years at the helm Howley has overseen Incommunities’ expansion from a Bradford-based housing trust into a Yorkshire-wide housing provider with a turnover of over £100 million.

Since 2003 the housing provider has invested over £400million into modernising customer homes and aims to create another 1000 homes across Bradford and Kirkless over the next five years.

Howley has most recently been responsible for leading Incommunities’ response to COVID-19 and has played a key role in Bradford’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Incommunities chair Jan Ormondroyd said: “During seventeen years as CEO, Geraldine has successfully led the changes which have ensured Incommunities thrives in a challenging environment.

“We are a forward looking organisation and she leaves us with a strong platform to achieve our future ambitions. We are a growing organisation and we will now begin the search for a successor who will continue our transformation and deliver our vision for Incommunities to 2040.”

Howley was appointed CEO of the group, formerly Bradford Community Housing Trust, in 2003 at its formation after a stock transfer from Bradford Council.

Under her leadership, Bradford Community Housing Trust rebranded into Incommunities into 2008 and achieved the Decent Homes Standard in 2010, whereupon it has delivered numerous multi-million-pound improvements to local homes.

Incommunities acquired its headquarters at The Quays in Shipley in 2013 and has consistently maintained the highest levels of regulatory judgment (G1 and V1), successfully refinancing in 2019.

Howley currently serves as chair of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) governing board, chair of the UK Housing partnership board, chair of the Centre for Partnership and GEM Programme, and as a CBI Regional Council member. She previously served as chair of the Northern Housing Consortium and regional chair of the National Housing Federation Board.

Howley’s contribution to housing during 40 years working in the sector have led her to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bradford in 2016 and an OBE the following year.

Howley said: “Incommunities is in great shape which means the time is right to move on to the next stage in my career. I’ve loved my time at Incommunities and delivering our vision of improving people’s lives has always been my mission as CEO.

“Incommunities has so many talented and great people working for it who are committed to our social purpose and we now also have the financial infrastructure to support our long term growth. It’s a fabulous organisation and now is the right time for a new leader to take Incommunities on the next stages in its journey.”

Howley will remain in post in her roles as chair of the CIH’s governing board, the GEM Programme and The Big Conversation.

Incommunities is expected to start the recruitment process for its new chief executive over the coming weeks.

Image: Geraldine Howley, the outgoing chief executive of Incommunities. Credit: Incommunities.

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