John Johnston

Chief Executive and Executive Member of the Commercial Board

John has 35 years’ experience of working in the Social Housing sector. He is passionate about the Sector and the North East Region, its people and potential.

Prior to becoming Chief Executive John directed all operational services, successfully developing strategy and delivering significant improvements across a wide range of directorates. John has successfully led stock transfer, merger and major regeneration initiatives at Bernicia.

For much of his career John has focused on developing Bernicia, to be the best that it can be, through the delivery of quality homes and community focussed services.

When appointed as Chief Executive in 2017 he was determined that Bernicia would remain fully focused on the North East, but would become a more outward facing organisation, putting its comprehensive insight, intelligence and ingenuity to greater use, and releasing latent financial capacity for greater investment in homes and communities.

Bernicia is now recognised as a key partner in the North East, actively engaging with a range of partners to advocate for the Region, influencing plans, and helping to deliver agendas that will benefit our local communities.

At a time of both challenge and opportunity for the housing sector John advocates for a responsible but also ambitious approach by Bernicia   “ We must understand our operating environment, mitigate and manage risks but not be made inert by them, particularly at a time when the communities of the North East needs the support of organisations such as Bernicia”.

John believes that Bernicia’s close working arrangements with partners and stakeholders gives Bernicia the insight to develop a comprehensive understanding of Regional Agendas and to recognise the valuable and diverse roles that it can play to help deliver these. John is a member of a range of National and Regional representative, professional and trade organisations, he chairs the North of Tyne and Northumberland Committees of the North East England Chamber of Commerce and sit on both its regional Council and Board– this provides a valuable link to business leaders and access to detailed insight into the regional economic picture.

He is also responsible for Health and Safety compliance at Bernicia and is an Executive Member of the Commercial Board.