Gavin Smith to succeed Esther Wilson as CIH Scotland board chair

Gavin Smith to succeed Esther Wilson as CIH Scotland board chair

Gavin Smith

Current CIH Scotland vice chair Gavin Smith has been announced as the new chair of the CIH Scotland board, taking over from Esther Wilson at the CIH AGM in December with Sue Shone taking on the role of vice chair.

Esther has been a member of the board since 2015 and has served as chair since 2018. Currently, director of housing and support at Viewpoint Housing Association, Esther began her career in housing in Cumbria in 1999, returning to Scotland to take up a post at Clackmannanshire Council. She then moved to East Lothian Council to become housing strategy manager in 2005 and was appointed as service manager with responsibility for economic development and strategic investment in 2013, before joining Viewpoint in 2018.

During her time as chair of CIH Scotland, Esther has helped lead the organisation during a period of restructure and reorganisation and leaves as the Institute implements a range of new services for members including a revamped website and mentoring platform and a new approach to the delivery of events which allows free and exclusive access to online and in-person events for CIH members across the UK. 

Gavin Smith is currently a service manager at Fife Council with responsibility for homelessness, housing access and service commissioning arrangements. He has worked in various roles in housing policy areas for over 25 years and is also chair of Ore Valley Housing Group. He previously served on the CIH Scotland board in 2010 and re-joined in 2019.

Sue is director of housing services at Whiteinch and Scotstoun Housing Association. She began working as a housing clerk with Lancaster City Council in 1992, and has held various roles with both housing associations and local government ever since. She is currently a board member for Kingdom Support and Care. Sue previously worked at CIH Scotland from 2007 to 2013 as a policy and practice manager and joined the board in 2017.

Speaking about taking on the role of chair of the CIH Scotland board, Gavin said: “As somebody that found housing as a career by accident as a Skillseeker (yes, it was that long ago!) I am delighted and honoured to chair the professional body, particularly at such a challenging time for the sector.  I have learned a lot from Esther and her predecessors and I am committed to raising the profile of housing in the way that they have. I’d like to thank Esther for her work as chair and for her support since re-joining the board.”

Sue said: “CIH has been by my side throughout my career; informing, supporting and being my voice at the national strategic level. I am delighted to have been nominated as vice chair and to assist Gavin, the board, the staff team and our members in building on all the exciting changes Esther has helped to lead us to.”

Esther said: “I would like to thank all of the CIH Scotland board members for their support during my time as chair. In particular, I would like to thank Gavin, and Gary Dalziel before him, who worked alongside me in the vice chair role. I would also like to thank Callum and the CIH staff team in Scotland and beyond, who have been an absolute pleasure to work with. I wish Gavin, Sue, Callum and the staff team all the best for the future.”

Callum Chomczuk, national director of CIH Scotland, added: “I am incredibly grateful to Esther for all the support and leadership she has shown to me, the staff team and CIH members during her time as chair of the Scotland board. She has made a such a positive impact at CIH during her time as chair and will be missed by everyone at the Institute.

“Equally, I am so pleased to have Gavin and Sue join as chair and vice chair respectively. They have both made a huge impact during their time on the Board, and I am really looking forward to working with them in their new roles.”

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