The chief executive of the Midlands housing association Accord has announced his upcoming retirement after 33 years in charge.
Dr Chris Handy will retire from his position at the helm of the 13,000-home social landlord at the end of March 2021.
Dr Handy’s retirement will coincide with the completion of a proposed merger between Accord and the fellow housing association GreenSquare Group.
Dr Handy said he made the decision ‘some time ago’ to retire this year and that his retirement will help create a ‘natural transition into something new’.
Chris said: “Leading Accord has been a delight and I have worked with some wonderful people over the years who have helped build an organisation which has always been a force for good.
“I’m proud that we have supported and nourished co-operatives and community leadership, that we have led on and innovated in our care and support services, that we have pioneered methods of modern construction, have led on a range of child poverty and social initiatives, that we’ve supported social enterprise and that we have been so innovative on so many fronts with one Housing Minister describing us as a ‘ferment of creativity’.
“Accord has been the biggest part of my career and I have loved working for this brilliant organisation. I can truly say there has never been a dull day during those 30 plus years as Chief Executive of Accord. I will miss this organisation and the people who make it so special.”
The merger between Accord and GreenSquare is expected to complete in spring 2021 with the boards of the two housing associations currently seeking to establish a new leadership team.
Accord’s chair Elisabeth Buggins will chair the board of the new merged organisation, while GreenSquare’s chief executive Ruth Cooke will become its new chief executive.
Accord and GreenSquare are set to make further announcements about how exactly the new organisation’s leadership team will be structured over the coming weeks.
Buggins said: “Chris’s influence and impact on social housing, care and support regionally and nationally has been exceptional, and those of us who have had the privilege of working with him at Accord are in true admiration of his passion and commitment.
“On behalf of us all at Accord, I wish him all the very best in his retirement and thank him whole heartedly for the work he’s done helping to improve the lives of so many vulnerable and disadvantaged people and communities.
“The new partnership we are creating between Accord and GreenSquare will create a larger, stronger organisation; we will be able to build more affordable homes and extend the breadth of our care and support services. Together we will be better placed to support even more people and communities.”
Cooke commented: “Chris and I have worked together on a number of a projects over the years, and his contribution to the sector has been enormous. He leaves a huge legacy.
“Our plans to bring together Accord and GreenSquare into a single organisation will help us build on this legacy to offer more support to people who need it.”