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Meet the board

The board currently comprises the Group Chairman, seven non-executive directors and five executive directors.

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

Non-executive board members

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.

Joe Seet


Joe Seet is a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years' experience in specialist accounting, regulatory compliance, tax planning, investment funds, banking, financial services and corporate governance.

His career spans treasury, wholesale and investment banking in senior finance roles with Chemical Bank, the National Bank of Kuwait, ScotiaMcLeod and Donaldson, and Lufkin & Jenrette. He was a Partner in the investment firms Beaumont Capital and Sunningdale Capital, and Senior Partner of the Sigma Partnership, a well-regarded business advisory and compliance accounting firm. He is also a non-executive director of the Royal Yachting Association and chairs its Audit & Risk Committee.

Joe is also a professional investor, entrepreneur, financial advisor, expert advisor on corporate governance and regulatory matters, an accredited mediator specialising in professional partnership disputes, and a member of the Taxation Committee of the London Society of Chartered Accountants. He joined the Places for People Group Board in 2011 and chairs the Remuneration Committee.

Lynette Lackey


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 10 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.

Dr Cathy Garner


With over 25 years' experience, Cathy is an expert in innovation, specialising in innovation in cities and communities, with a research and policy background in social housing, urban regeneration and the links between universities and business.

She is currently Director of the Work Foundation, an Independent Member to the London-Cambridge-Stansted Corridor Commission, a member of the Standing Selection Committee for the National Centres of Excellence of Canada, a Trustee of the Council on Health Research andDevelopment, a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and of the Royal Society of Arts.

She was previously Director of Housing Management and Research at the Housing Corporation and Head of Innovation at Scottish Homes; she served on the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property and was a member of the Cabinet Office Innovators' Council. In 2002, she founded an international charity addressing the health needs of the global poor for which she still writes and volunteers.

Cathy joined the Places for People Group board in 2011.

Jon Lloyd


Jon is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and has over 36 years' experience in property development, investment and asset management. His career has included roles as Chief Executive of UK Coal, Head of Group Property for HBOS, Managing Director of the Northern Region of DTZ international property advisers, and Managing Director of Yorkshire Water Estates.

Currently, he is a non-executive director of the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust; Chairman of Reform Energy, an alternative energy development and generation company, has his own property and energy consulting business, Winksley Consulting, and until recently, was a non-executive director of Tilfen Land, a property investment and development company based in London.

Outside his business interests, Jon supports the charities The Prince's Trust and Help For Heroes. He joined the Places for People Group Board in 2012.

Nigel Hopkins


Nigel is Finance Director of Abbeyfield, a leading UK Charity providing residential care homes and supported housing to the elderly, and is also 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 Fiat, Laporte (Chemical), Burmah Castrol, United Technologies, Coopers & Lybrand, Ernst & Young, Remploy and , most recently, CBI, where he was Resource Finance. Nigel joined the Places for People Group Board in 2013 and the Cotman Board in August 2016.

Brenda Dean


Brenda's current appointments include Partnership Non- Executive Director of National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and Chairman of Empiric Student Property plc.  She is a Vice-President of the War Widows Association and President of the Abbeyfield Society charity. 

Brenda is also a Trustee of the Thomson Foundation and of University College Cancer Charity.  Her past appointments include that of Chairman of the Housing Corporation, Chairman of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body and President of the College of Occupational Therapy, member of the Royal Commission on the Future of the House of Lords and the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

Brenda was a member of the National Committee of Inquiry into the Future of Higher Education - the Dearing Committee.  She is a member of Council of the University of Nottingham, and has been a Council member of City University, London, the Open University and the London School of Economics.

She started her working life in the Trade Union movement and was subsequently elected General Secretary of the Society of Graphical and Allied Trades (SOGAT), the printing, publishing and paper trades union.

Brenda joined the Places for People Group Board in 2015.

Michael Brodtman


Michael Brodtman is a Chartered Surveyor with 35 years' experience of both commercial and residential property markets. Michael is responsible for UK valuation services at CBRE, the largest global real estate services firm, where he is a member of the UK Operating Committee and Executive Board.

Michael is a member of the Global Valuation Professional  Board of the RICS, and for 10 years was  a Non Executive Director at leading property data provider, IPD.

Michael joined the Places for People Group Board in 2016.

Executive board members

David Cowans, Group Chief Executive


David has over 30 years' experience of housing, urban regeneration, mixed tenure and mixed use development, property and financial management, having led strategic change in both large and small organisations.

He has an MBA from Birmingham University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Chartered Member of the Institute of Housing, a Member of The Institute of Residential Property Management, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is Visiting Fellow of Cambridge University.

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 with Ernst & Young where he spent nine years in its North West assurance practice. 

Mary Parsons, Group Director, Placemaking and Regeneration


Mary has over 25 years' experience in the development, construction and regeneration industry, working across the private, registered provider and consultancy sectors. She has been involved in some of the largest housingled regeneration programmes in the UK.

Previously, she worked in the consultancy business, specialising in public/private sector partnerships and housing market renewal, and also worked in the private sector on large-scale, mixed-tenure developments. Mary is a Trustee of the Town & Country Planning Association and joined Places for People in 2004, becoming Group Business Development Director in 2010.

Colin Rae, Group Development Director


Colin has 30 years' experience working in the Development and Construction industry, from Chartered Quantity Surveying through to Development Management. Colin joined Places for People in 2002 and currently manages Places for People Group Development and Construction teams in England and Scotland. With a particular interest in high quality design, he has delivered a variety of mixed tenure projects within Places for People.

A member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Colin holds directorships with both Homes for Scotland and a number of property development related companies and was previously (Voluntary) Chair of Turning Point Scotland. He currently sits on the Private Rented Sector Steering Group working with the PRS Champion in Scotland.

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.

Pat Egan, Group Director, Affordable Housing


Pat has over 30 years' experience in affordable and mixed-tenure housing management, managing one of the largest registered providers in the UK.

He has over 20 years' experience at a senior level in a variety of roles focussing on business transformation, including the transfer of Bristol Churches Housing Association into the Group.

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"I feel proud to chair the board of an organisation that makes a difference to the lives of thousands of people each year."
Chris Phillips, Group Chairman