Bernicia appoints John Holmes as new Chair

Bernicia welcomes new Chair John Holmes

Bernicia has appointed highly respected business leader John Holmes as its new chair.

John brings extensive experience of executive and non-executive roles to the post as Bernicia launches a £190m investment programme over the next five years. He is joined by three new board members – former Bond Dickinson partner Claire-Jane Rewcastle, Avril Gibson, former Northern Learning Trust chief executive and Marie Roe, director of business and development at Gateshead Housing Company.  Their appointments further strengthen Bernicia’s governance structures which, together with its financial viability, have just been given top marks by the government’s Regulator of Social Housing.

John joined Bernicia’s board last year and he takes over as chair from Bill Worth who has ensured the company’s success during a period of significant change.

Bernicia, with its head office based in Ashington, employs 550 staff across four North East sites, with a £70m annual turnover. It plans to pump £190m into building at least 500 new homes by 2023, alongside investing in its 14,000 existing properties and the wider community.

John is operations director at Kielder Observatory, having previously held a number of senior board and executive positions.

“I am delighted to be taking over as Bernicia chair at this exciting time, delivering an ambitious development and growth programme, whilst maintaining a quality service for all of our customers and the wider community,” he said.

“I’ve been really impressed at the professionalism and customer service offered by Bernicia and the determination of staff in maintaining high standards during a challenging time for the social housing sector.”

John Johnston, Bernicia Chief Executive, said: “In welcoming John Holmes as chair and our three new board members Claire-Jane, Avril and Marie, I’m confident their vast experience will be invaluable to our business as we embark on delivering our ambitious investment programme. John brings great business acumen and a wealth of business planning and development, residential and commercial property experience to the role of chair”.

“Our new board members’ highly successful careers in executive and non-executive roles across the private and public sectors will be a huge asset to Bernicia and further strengthen our excellent governance structures. The governance and viability marks we received from the government’s Regulator of Social Housing are the highest achievable, and official endorsement that Bernicia is meeting the stringent standards set to ensure housing associations are well run for the benefit of their tenants.”