Ross Fraser to step down as HouseMark chief executive
HouseMark chief executive Ross Fraser has announced his plan to step down from his role in January 2017 at the age of 60.
As founder of the company, Ross has taken HouseMark from a start-up in 1999 to a major sector institution that has consistently returned profits to the sector through the work of parent organisations, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and the National Housing Federation.
Ross’ early career – especially with Shelter in the 1980s and the Association of District Councils and CIH in the 1990s – embedded an understanding of housing policy and practice across the UK which informed the development of HouseMark and a range of services that have directly supported improvement in the sector. Notably, HouseMark benchmarking provided the factual evidence of improvement to help secure the release of £20 billion government support for the local authority decent homes programme.
In the last three years, Ross, working closely with the company’s first private sector chair and new creative management team, has led a ‘revisioning’ of the company, bringing new services to market to meet the fast evolving needs and aspirations of the sector.
Ross will be leaving the business in good shape; last year HouseMark had one of its most successful years to date, demonstrating the continued value that members see in the company’s services.
Ross said: “I’ve decided to step down as chief executive at the end of January 2017.
“HouseMark has just had an excellent 2015, with a 9 per cent increase in customer satisfaction and membership retention of 97 per cent.
“Having taken HouseMark from a start-up in 1999 to its current status as market leader in sector data and insight, I think this is the right time to hand it over to someone who can consolidate our success.
“My reason for leaving is that I will be 60 in January and I want a better balance between work and my other interests. I’m planning to work on housing projects, to do a part-time PhD on the French Revolution and to write about music and housing.
“In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the recruitment of my successor over the coming months and to an effective and seamless handover before I leave next year.”
HouseMark chair, Jon Sawyer, said: “Ross’ contribution to the growth and success of HouseMark can’t be overstated. He is a great character in the business and is known by many in housing. We will miss him. But we fully support his decision to ‘pass on the baton’. He is leaving the company in a very strong commercial position with a strong board, senior team and a talented staff. I hope our paths will cross again in the near future.”
CIH chief executive, Terrie Alafat, added: “Under Ross’s leadership HouseMark has grown to become our industry’s leading light for business intelligence. Ross’ accomplished leadership, his ambition for growth and drive for excellence have been central to this as has the huge heart and personality he brings to his work. He has done a great job.
“On behalf of CIH I’d like to thank Ross for the huge contribution he has made to HouseMark. We wish him all the very best in the future.”
David Orr, chief executive at the National Housing Federation, said: “I have said before that our sector’s most valuable assets are their people, who daily utilise their commitment and expertise to provide innovative support for each other and the many millions of people we provide homes for. Ross is a shining example of this tradition. Over the past three decades he has been on the frontline of housing policy, amassing a breadth of experience via a variety of projects of massive practical use for the sector as a whole.
“In particular he has of course spent the last 16 years working on HouseMark and has been pivotal to its growth as an established part of our sector. Professionals from across the housing world have come to rely on Ross and the company’s insight to make timely and informed decisions about their businesses. His leadership of HouseMark will be much-missed. I would like to offer my personal thanks for his service and wish him best of luck in balancing his work in housing with his other cultural interests.”
The recruitment process for a new chief executive will begin in April and an announcement about the successful candidate will be made later in the year.