Executive directors

David Cowans, Group Chief Executive

David Cowans

Group Chief Executive

David has over 30 years’ experience of housing, urban regeneration, mixed-tenure and mixed use development, property management and financial management, leading strategic change in large and small organisations.

David is a Fellow of the Institute of Housing, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Chartered Director of the Institute of Directors and has an MBA from Birmingham University. He is also an Academician of The Academy of Urbanism and a Visiting Fellow of Cambridge University.

Andy Winstanley

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 at Ernst and Young where he spent nine years in its North-West assurance practice.

Debi Marriott-Lavery

Debi Marriott-Lavery

Group Executive Director - Affordable Housing

Debi is a Qualified Healthcare Professional who has over 20 years’ experience working at senior level in the Health, Social Care and Housing markets, strategically leading teams and businesses to provide innovative high quality services in diverse and challenging markets for both public, independent and not for profit sectors.

Debi has an excellent track record and a strong reputation; she most recently was Chief Executive of Living+, Part of the Places for People Group which provides accommodation, support and care services to help vulnerable people with complex needs live independent fulfilling lives, prior to this Debi was Managing Director Community Services, Care UK and previously Chief Operating Officer at Anchor Trust.

Tim Weightman

Tim Weightman

Group Executive Director, Assets and Investments

Tim joined Places for People in 1997 and has over 20 years’ experience of development and investment in relation to the residential asset classes, including PRS, retirement rentals and student housing, and is responsible for the Group’s other investment properties, and its approach to asset performance and strategic asset management. Tim has a degree in Building Surveying and an MBA from Durham University.  

Tim joined the board of Places for People Group in October 2019.

Scott Black

Scott Black

Group Executive Director - Development

Scott is a Chartered Architect with 25 years experience in the development industry and with a passion for design and the creation of sustainable new communities. He has performed several roles in his career leading up to a Group position as Director of New Business at Crest Nicholson PLC.

He was most recently the Managing Director of Crest Nicholson Regeneration which was responsible for the group’s major mixed use regeneration projects, partnership schemes, and both the PRS and commercial portfolio’s. He held this position for 5 years and during this time was responsible for the delivery of some of the most iconic major projects and regeneration schemes in the UK, managing circa 200 staff with an annual turnover of between £250m - £300m a year.

Chris Martin

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.


Non-executive directors

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

Chris Phillips, Group Chairman

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.

Graham Kitchen

Graham Kitchen

Most recently, Graham was Global Head of Equities at Janus Henderson Investors. 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 Invesco Perpetual Select Trust plc, The Mercantile Investment Trust plc and AVI Global Trust. Graham is also a member of the Investment Committee of the charity Independent Age and acts as mentor for The Prince’s Trust and The Social Mobility Foundation.

He is an ambassador for the Diversity Project which is an industry initiative to promote gender equality in the investment management industry. Graham joined the Places for People Group board in October 2017.

Nigel Hopkins

Nigel Hopkins

Nigel is a non-executive director of MHS Homes Limited and 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 the Confederation of British Industry, Fiat, Abbeyfield, Laporte (Chemical), Burmah Castrol, United Technologies, Coopers & Lybrand, Ernst & Young and Remploy. At Remploy he was Finance and Strategy Director at a time when the company was being transformed from one that was exclusively an employer of disabled people in a wide range of industries, to one that placed 15,000 disabled and disadvantaged people into work each year.

Nigel joined the Places for People Group board in October 2013 and the board of Cotman in August 2016.

Adam Cleal

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. He chairs the Clay Hill Charitable Trust which helps address homelessness, youth unemployment and special educational needs. He 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.

Graham Waddell

Graham Waddell

Senior Independent Director

Graham worked for Nationwide Building Society over a period of 32 years during which he held a number of Senior Executive positions in a range of disciplines including Retail Banking, Marketing, Customer Experience, Risk and Strategy development. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers. He was also the Managing Director of a Nationwide subsidiary company, which was a large private landlord and property owning vehicle. Graham joined the Board of Castle Rock Edinvar in September 2013 and became its Chairman on 1 March 2018. Graham joined the Board of Places for People Group Limited on 1 September 2018 and was appointed senior independent director in 2019.

Amjad Hussain

Amjad Hussain

Amjad joined the Royal Navy whilst at university. An unusually broad career has seen operational jobs at sea balanced ashore with a variety of functions that have similarities with the Places for People business. It has also included 2 periods on the Royal Navy’s main board, lastly as Controller of the Navy, a role which included responsibility for the complete aircraft carrier programme. He then led a technical consultancy business for a multi-national corporation before developing a non-executive portfolio encompassing technology start-ups, trustee positions and personal charity projects overseas.

He is a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum and the HMS Victory Preservation Company, a Fellow and council member of the City & Guilds Institute and an ambassador for Mosaic, a Prince’s Trust charity. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees in engineering, a master’s degree from London Business School and an honorary doctorate from Durham University. He was made a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in 2011.

Amjad joined the Places for People Group board in November 2018.

Tracey James

Tracey James

Tracey is a qualified Chartered Accountant and was an Audit Partner at Grant Thornton UKLLP where she spent most of her career until June 2018. She was a member of Grant Thornton’s Partner Oversight Board, Audit & Risk Committee and Audit Faculty Board. She specialises in advising fast growth, international businesses across various sectors with a focus on quoted companies. She is currently Vice Chair and Chair of Audit at Activate Learning Group an innovative group of FE Colleges and Schools. She was previously a member of the ICAEW Audit Regulation Committee and the Audit Committee of South Oxford Housing Association. Tracey spent two years in Industry as Director of Finance for a Medical Supplies company in Canada having previously spent 5 years in Paris.

She was appointed to the Board of Places for People Group in October 2019.

Regina Finn

Regina Finn

Regina is Chair of the Low Carbon Contracts Company, which plays a critical role in the delivery of the UK’s clean, sustainable, affordable energy goals. She is also a Director of Lucerna Partners, a consultancy specialising in public policy, economic regulation and competition and consumer policy. 
Previously, Regina Chaired Mutual Energy Limited, which owns energy and gas interconnection assets between Ireland and Great Britain and was a non-executive director of Irish Water and the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authority.

She was the first chief executive of Ofwat, the water regulator for England and Wales, held the position of Commissioner for Energy Regulation in Ireland, and set up and ran a regulator for the energy, post and telecommunications sectors in Guernsey in the British Channel Islands. She also led the establishment of Ireland’s first economic regulator for the telecommunications sector.

Regina joined the Places for People Group Board in October 2019.

Angela Daniel

Angela Daniel

Angela Daniel currently works for global insurance company and heads up the Firm's Finance team within the Europe Asset Management division. Prior to joining, she worked as the EMEA Controller for Custody & Securities Lending (WSS) in JP Morgan Chase and before that worked as a Client Financial Management Specialist (Oil & Gas sector) in Accenture. Angela trained as an Accountant within a small- to medium-sized practice and is a Fellow Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA). She received a B.A. (Hons) degree in Accounting and Management from Cardiff Business School and holds a Masters degree from the University of Oxford. She also currently holds Non Executive roles as a Trustee of an Educational Trust in Hertfordshire and as Treasurer at The Urology Foundation.

Angela joined the Board of Places for People Group Limited in October 2019.

Liz Woolman

Liz Woolman

Liz worked for Prudential Financial Services and then BT Group over a period of 23 years, during which time she worked in Amsterdam for 5 years and held a number of Senior Executive positions in a wide range of functions including Human Resources, Sales, Marketing, Strategy and Commercial Product Management. Liz has a degree in Management Studies and an MBA, she is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Liz is an Executive Coach owning her own business Reconnect Business Coaching and volunteers as Chair of Governors for a Kent Primary School and is a Trustee for a local Christian Charity. 

Liz joined the Board of Places for People Group Limited in October 2019.

Lynette Lackey

Lynette Lackey

Regulated board chair

Lynette is 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 ten 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 and briefly left the board in 2019. She chairs the Regulated board which oversees all social and affordable businesses within the Group and returned to the Group Board in April 2020.

Richard-Gregory

Richard Gregory OBE

Richard has held the roles of chair, senior independent director and non-executive director across a range of private and public sectors. He is Senior Advisor to Virgin Money PLC and Chair of the specialist lender Together Personal Finance Limited.

Former roles include Senior Independent Director and Risk Committee Chair of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group (CYBG PLC) and Chair of the Yorkshire Bank Pension Trust. In the NHS, two foundation trust chairmanships, a board member of the Foundation Trust Network, member of GovernWell and the NHS Leadership Academy advisory board. In regional development, Deputy Chair of the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, Chair of the Science and Industry Council, Yorkshire Innovation, and Chair of Science City York. He is a former board member of Business in the Community and its Yorkshire Chair, former Chair of Sheffield Hallam University and non-executive director of Sheffield University Enterprises Ltd.

His executive career was in television broadcasting first with Granada TV in Manchester and then Yorkshire Television where he retired as Managing Director Broadcasting before becoming Chair of the digital media company Imagesound PLC.

He is a member of the North West Business Leadership Team, the Yorkshire and Humber Council of the CBI, the Team Humber Marine Alliance advisory board and the Innovation advisory board of Sheffield Hallam University.

Richard joined the Board of Places for People Group Limited on 1 November 2020.