The power of four

DERWENT Living has appointed four new members to its board, bringing with them a range of skills in both housing and other professional services.

The Derby-based housing provider has carefully the four new recruits because of the range and breadth of experience they have. These new appointments are a positive move for Derwent Living, and will provide a further injection of expertise to the company as it moves forward.

The appointments also come on the back of rules put in place by the company which states that no one can serve for longer than nine years as a board member. This ensures that there are constantly new and evolving ideas being poured into the company’s strategy.

The four new members include Atul Patel, 53, who has over 30 years experience in social housing and the public sector, and only recently retired from his role as chief executive of Leicester Housing Association-ASRA Group. Atul has extensive experience in strategy, policy and community development; and operational management experience in all aspects of the housing business.

His previous roles include deputy director at the cabinet office working on neighbourhood renewal and director of regulation at the Housing Corporation, where he was also regional director for the East Midlands. He is currently a Trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund & Heritage Lottery Fund.

Atul says: “I am very familiar with Derwent Living from my years in the housing sector, and know that the company has a great reputation for the work that it does. I was delighted to be appointed and I now want to use my experience and skills to take the organisation forward.”

Martin Shaw, 47, brings with him extensive financial experience, particularly in residential property and related sectors. Since 2009 Martin has worked for himself under the trading name MCORE Corporate Finance where he works for companies in the areas of corporate finance transactions, corporate development and financial projects. Martin’s previous roles have included head of corporate finance at Countrywide plc and assistant director of corporate finance at Ernst & Young accountants.

Martin says: “I am delighted to be joining the Derwent Living board. I think I can bring something a little different to the role, not only with my financial expertise but also, the experience I have gained in a commercial business, which will be useful to Derwent Living as it continues to build on its commercial ventures.”

Naomi Dobraszczyc, 33, has worked in a number of senior positions in housing. She currently works as director of finance & contracting at Brighter Futures Housing Association Ltd in Stoke-on-Trent. Prior to this, Naomi was finance director at Cambridge Housing Society.

Naomi said: “When I saw the advertisement for new board members at Derwent Living, I jumped at the opportunity to become involved. Derwent Living is one of the largest providers of housing where I live in the East Midlands, with an excellent reputation, a truly unique mix of services and an exciting strategy for the future. This is my first board membership, but it comes on the back of eight years experience in senior finance roles in the housing sector. I have a lot to contribute to Derwent Living going forward but I expect to learn a lot as well.”

Maureen Neal has worked as an academic in various universities for a large part of her career, her most recent position being deputy vice chancellor at Plymouth University. Maureen says on her appointment: “I have dealt with people for most of my career, and feel like it is a real strength of mine. I have also dealt with student accommodation as part of my recent role, which I found really interesting. I have been a co-opted member of the Derwent Living operations committee for over a year now, and I have really enjoyed it, so when I saw the opportunity to become a member of the board, I jumped at the chance.  I think it has really sparked my interest because I see how important housing is to everyone, of any age, and want to be involved in something so vital in all our lives.”

Peter McCormack, Derwent Living chief executive, said: “I am very excited about the new additions to our board. I cannot express how important their varying skills and experiences will be, in terms of helping us to provide exceptional services to our residents, as well as building and improving them as well. Each individual has so much enthusiasm and passion for what they do and I know that this energy with be well received by the board. I look forward to new and exciting times ahead.”