Meet the board

The board currently comprises the Group Chairman, seven non-executive directors and six executive directors.

The non-executive directors act independently of management which ensures the highest standards of accountability and transparency are upheld throughout the organisation.

Non-executive board members

Chris Phillips, Group Chairman


Chris was Managing Director of PB Securities, the UK subsidiary of Prudential Bache, for three years, before joining Lombard Odier as the Managing Director of its London broking business. He then joined Colliers International and after heading its residential consultancy business, became the first Managing Director of Colliers Capital (UK).

Chris has chaired a number of companies listed in the UK and Germany, and is currently non-executive Chairman of Hadleigh Waymoth, an independent advisory and fund management business, and London & Newcastle, a leading London-based mixed-use property development company.

Chris joined the Places for People Group Board in 2006 and was a senior independent director from 2008. He became Chairman in 2010.

Lynette Lackey


A Chartered Accountant with over 20 years' experience in real estate finance, corporate reporting and financial management, Lynette is also a Director of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a Trustee of Landaid, and past UK Chair of National Women in Property Association. She also spent 10 years as a Partner with BDO Stoy Hayward, where she specialised in international real estate transactions. Lynette joined the Places for People Group Board in 2011.

Jon Lloyd


Jon is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and has over 36 years' experience in property development, investment and asset management. His career has included roles as Chief Executive of UK Coal, Head of Group Property for HBOS, Managing Director of the Northern Region of DTZ international property advisers, and Managing Director of Yorkshire Water Estates.

Currently, he is a non-executive director of the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust; Chairman of Reform Energy, an alternative energy development and generation company, has his own property and energy consulting business, Winksley Consulting, and until recently, was a non-executive director of Tilfen Land, a property investment and development company based in London.

Outside his business interests, Jon supports the charities The Prince's Trust and Help For Heroes. He joined the Places for People Group Board in 2012.

Nigel Hopkins


Nigel is Finance Director of Abbeyfield, a leading UK Charity providing residential care homes and supported housing to the elderly, and is also Chairman of Instructus, the UK's largest provider, registration and certification authority for apprenticeships, having previously had a wide ranging international career, living and working in the UK, Europe and the USA.

He is a qualified accountant and has held senior management positions with Fiat, Laporte (Chemical), Burmah Castrol, United Technologies, Coopers & Lybrand, Ernst & Young, Remploy and , most recently, CBI, where he was Resource Finance. Nigel joined the Places for People Group Board in 2013 and the Cotman Board in August 2016.

Michael Brodtman


Michael Brodtman is a Chartered Surveyor with 35 years' experience of both commercial and residential property markets. Michael is responsible for UK valuation services at CBRE, the largest global real estate services firm, where he is a member of the UK Operating Committee and Executive Board.

Michael is a member of the Global Valuation Professional  Board of the RICS, and for 10 years was  a Non Executive Director at leading property data provider, IPD.

Michael joined the Places for People Group Board in 2016.

Graham Kitchen


Graham Kitchen is Global Head of Equities at Janus Henderson Investors and is a member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Society of the UK. Prior to joining Janus Henderson in 2005 as Head of UK Equities, Graham was with Threadneedle Investments, and he spent 13 years at INVESCO Asset Management as a UK Fund Manager and Co-Head of Investment.

Graham is Chair of the Investment Committee for the Cancer Research Pension Fund, and is a member of the Investment Committee of the Charity Independent Age. Graham also acts as mentor for The Prince's Trust and The Social Mobility Foundation. Graham graduated from Lancaster University with a first class BA (Hons) in history and earned a master's degree in modern history from Oxford University.

Graham joined the Places for People Group board in October 2017. 

Adam Cleal


Adam has over 30 years' experience as a real estate solicitor including over 25 years working on housing deals including many housing debt facilities and bonds, sale-leaseback deals and Large Scale Voluntary Transfers. In addition he had a wide-ranging legal practice in property investments and disposals, office and housing developments, M&A, infrastructure projects, sports facilities, funds and structures as well as long and short-term debt, securitisations and structured finance. He also dealt with many regulatory bodies over that period on a continuing and frequent basis.

For over 25 years he was a partner at Allen & Overy, one of the largest law firms in the world, and in that time was head of the London real estate group for 15 years and head of the international real estate group for 11 years; he also spent time on the firm's audit committee. Adam has personal experience of investing in and managing residential property. He was a non-executive director of PfP Capital Limited immediately before joining the Places for People Group Board in October 2017.

Jo Dixon


'Jo' was born and grew up in Newcastle.  After graduating from London University she trained as a chartered accountant with Touche Ross (now Deloittes) London.  After qualification her career then moved to the City of London where she worked in financial services and held a number of senior positions principally in the NatWest Investment Bank and Group.

She swapped the grey of the city for the black and white of Newcastle United where she was the finance director at a very fun, and successful time in its history 1995-98.  That was followed by a spell in Serco Group as Commercial Director, a role taking her around the UK, Middle East and Europe.

Her career was then stalled by a horse riding accident.  As she recuperated she started to take on some consultancy roles, interim roles and non-executive roles in a number of companies including charitable and commercial.  The colour was now changed to green as she ventured to the Eden project for a year.

She now lives in Northumberland and enjoys a portfolio of non-executive roles which keep her professional career busy taking her to London and abroad. 

Jo joined the Places for People Group Board in October 2017.

Executive board members

David Cowans, Group Chief Executive


David has over 30 years' experience of housing, urban regeneration, mixed tenure and mixed use development, property and financial management, having led strategic change in both large and small organisations.

He has an MBA from Birmingham University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Chartered Member of the Institute of Housing, a Member of The Institute of Residential Property Management, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is Visiting Fellow of Cambridge University.

Andy Winstanley, Group Finance Director


Andy was appointed Group Finance Director in August 2017, having previously operated as the Group's Financial Controller since joining Places for People in 2010. Andy qualified as an accountant with Ernst & Young where he spent nine years in its North West assurance practice. 

Mary Parsons, Group Director, Placemaking and Regeneration


Mary has over 25 years' experience in the development, construction and regeneration industry, working across the private, registered provider and consultancy sectors. She has been involved in some of the largest housingled regeneration programmes in the UK.

Previously, she worked in the consultancy business, specialising in public/private sector partnerships and housing market renewal, and also worked in the private sector on large-scale, mixed-tenure developments. Mary is a Trustee of the Town & Country Planning Association and joined Places for People in 2004, becoming Group Business Development Director in 2010.

Colin Rae, Group Development Director


Colin has 30 years' experience working in the Development and Construction industry, from Chartered Quantity Surveying through to Development Management. Colin joined Places for People in 2002 and currently manages Places for People Group Development and Construction teams in England and Scotland. With a particular interest in high quality design, he has delivered a variety of mixed tenure projects within Places for People.

A member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Colin holds directorships with both Homes for Scotland and a number of property development related companies and was previously (Voluntary) Chair of Turning Point Scotland. He currently sits on the Private Rented Sector Steering Group working with the PRS Champion in Scotland.

Chris Martin, Group Company Secretary and Legal Services Director


Chris is a solicitor with over 25 years' experience of legal practice and joined Places for People in 2008.

Previously, he worked in private practice for 10 years, in a City law firm and as a partner in a US legal practice, and then in general counsel roles in UK and international businesses, in a number of different industry sectors.

Pat Egan, Group Director, Affordable Housing


Pat has over 30 years' experience in affordable and mixed-tenure housing management, managing one of the largest registered providers in the UK.

He has over 20 years' experience at a senior level in a variety of roles focussing on business transformation, including the transfer of Bristol Churches Housing Association into the Group.

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"I feel proud to chair the board of an organisation that makes a difference to the lives of thousands of people each year."
Chris Phillips, Group Chairman