Housing stalwart David Orr to retire from National Housing Federation

David Orr

David Orr has announced his intention to retire as chief executive of the National Housing Federation at the end of September after more than 12 years in the role.

David began working as a deputy warden at a homeless centre in Glasgow before becoming a co-ordinator at Centrepoint in London. He joined Newlon Housing Trust as chief executive and four years later became chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA).

In July 2005, David was appointed chief executive of the National Housing Federation.

In an email sent to members yesterday, David said: “This has not been an easy decision to make. I feel enormously privileged to have had the opportunity to make the case for the brilliant work that our members do in every part of the country. The more time I have spent with you, the more I am convinced that the future success of housing associations is critical to the future success of this country. I am proud that I have played my part in securing this future over the course of my career, and especially during my time leading the Federation.

“After more than 12 years in this role, and more than 35 years working with and for housing associations, I now feel the time is right for a change. I believe the Federation is more relevant and focused than ever before, and, working with you, we have helped to put housing associations at the heart of our nation’s future. There is now a fantastic opportunity for a new leader to make the Federation even more effective.

“It has been a real honour to have worked with you all for the last 12 years. For now, for me, nothing has changed. For the next eight months, it goes without saying that I will continue to promote your success in every way I can as leader of the Federation. I will also work closely with you, and with my colleagues, to support the transition to a new chief executive. We will be in touch very soon with more detail on this process.”


David is the former president of CECODHAS-Housing Europe, the European Liaison Committee for Social Housing. He has recently been appointed as the new chair of the board of Homeless International. He also sits on the board of The Housing Finance Corporation, was a member of the Social Investment Task Force and is one of the founding directors of My Home Finance, a social enterprise set up by the Federation to provide a new high street service offering affordable loans, money advice, bank accounts and linked savings accounts. He is also a co-opted member of the Homeless International Council of Management.

David was awarded an honorary membership of the CIH in 2010.

Chair of the National Housing Federation Board, Baroness Diana Warwick, added: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with David. On behalf of the Board I want to thank him for his extraordinary contribution to the housing association movement.

“Over the past 12 years, David has championed the independence and ambitions of housing associations, and their critical role in tackling the housing crisis.

“David will continue to provide strong leadership for the Federation over the coming months, as we conduct an extensive and thorough recruitment process for his successor.”

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