Housing sector’s longest-serving CEO retires

The housing sector’s longest current serving chief executive has announced his plan to retire after 34 years of service.
Darrell Mercer

The housing sector’s longest current serving chief executive has announced his plan to retire after 34 years of service.

Darrell Mercer, chief executive of the A2Dominion Group, will be stepping down from his role in August 2022. He joined Acton Housing Association in 1988 when the organisation had only 850 homes in management, eight in development and a single office in Ealing, west London.

In the decades that followed, he led the association through several successful mergers with Oxford-based Cherwell Housing Association in 2004, Orpington-based Kelsey Housing Association in 2006, and Staines and Winchester-based A2 Housing Group in 2008.

Today, A2Dominion employs nearly 1,200 people and is one of the UK’s leading housing associations, with 38,000 homes in management and 5,000 more in the development pipeline. The group regularly wins awards and accreditations for its developments, services and employer brand. It is also a member of the G15.

After retirement, Mercer plans to continue in his various non-executive roles. 

The outgoing CEO said: “I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved over the years at A2Dominion and to have had the pleasure to work with a fantastic bunch of colleagues. 

“The group has experienced phenomenal growth and continual improvement of services to customers over the past 30 years. When I first joined Acton as CEO, we only had 850 homes in management and one scheme of eight units in development. We now have over 38,000 homes across London and southern England, with 5,000 more in the development pipeline. 

“I’m also pleased that I’ll be leaving the organisation in the safe and very capable hands of a refreshed group board and executive management team. I wish to thank all my colleagues for their support over the years and look forward to returning to work once I’ve fully recovered from my bone marrow transplant.” 

The news marks the start of a new era for the group’s leadership, as it also announces a successor to its current chair, Ian Cox. 

Alan Collett has been appointed as chair designate of the A2Dominion Group and will be taking up his new position as chair of the group board in Summer 2022 when Ian steps down following the completion of his maximum term in office. 

Collett, a chartered surveyor and outgoing chair of the Hyde Group, joins A2Dominion with significant experience in social and private sector housing across executive and non-executive roles.  He commented: “I am delighted to be joining A2Dominion at such an important time in the housing sector. Providing high quality, sustainable homes in strong communities is a vital mission, and the strategy agreed by the Board is a great platform upon which to build.” 

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